Twenty-two top aquariums across the United States including the three N. C. Aquariums and Jennette’s Pier have already eliminated 5 million straws in their coordinated campaign to reduce sources of plastic pollution.
Now they’re upping their game by encouraging individuals, businesses and cities around the country to cut back on single-use plastic -- starting with plastic straws -- by Earth Day 2019.
Banding together in a joint #FirstStep to plastic-free waters, the aquariums seek commitments from 500 more businesses, pledges from individuals, and policy action by municipalities, all to reduce a growing source of single-use plastic waste that harms ocean and freshwater wildlife around the world.
The campaign will kick off during #NoStrawNovember, a nationwide movement asking people who don’t need them to refuse plastic straws for 30 days.
“Cutting back on plastic straws doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s an important first step,” said N. C. Aquariums Director David R. Griffin. “It gets people thinking and talking about ways they can reduce their reliance on single-use plastic items—and encourages the innovation of ocean-friendly alternatives.”
The #FirstStep campaign includes:
- Recruiting 500 new businesses to partner with aquariums across the country by committing to offer straws only on request, for a total of 1,000 businesses committed by Earth Day 2019
- An online pledge site (pledge.ourhands.org/) where individuals can commit to make the last straw their first step to plastic-free waters
- Initiatives by partner aquariums to inspire cities in their regions to pass straws-on-request ordinances and other local measures to reduce single-use plastic
- An opportunity for individuals to get tips via text message on ways to cut back on single-use plastic in their daily lives, by texting OCEAN 49767
Since the 2017 launch of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP), 22 partner aquariums in 17 states – located on the coasts and in the heartland -- have eliminated more than 5 million straws a year, stopped using plastic shopping bags, and have committed to significantly reduce or eliminate plastic beverage bottles by 2020.
For more information about the #FirstStep campaign or to take the pledge, please visit pledge.ourhands.org/.