Aquariums sign up to beat plastic pollution
Torquay’s Living Coasts and Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium have signed up to a new global movement to raise awareness about plastic pollution.
The coalition goes under the banner of “World aquariums #Readytochange to #Beatplasticpollution”.
The aim is to set a good example over the use of plastics and to encourage changes in behaviour.
Living Coasts was the first aquarium in the UK to sign up.
The coastal zoo and aquarium stopped selling single-use plastic drinks bottles in 2017.
The new movement, launched at the fifth #Ourocean conference, held in Bali, has signed up 163 aquariums from 33 countries, including 63 from 20 EU countries.
There are 26 from the USA, 17 from France and 10 from Spain. It’s hoped the number will increase to 200 by 2019.
Living Coasts curator Clare Rugg says: “Living Coasts engages visitors on the issue of plastics in the ocean in many ways, sharing facts and figures during talks, providing education sessions for children, creating displays of plastic litter found on local beaches and working with partners in the Torbay Cleaner Coasts Initiative to collect coastal litter. We stopped selling single use plastic bottles on site and are moving to reduce plastics on the site wherever possible.
“Plastic pollution is such an important message – we have a duty to help our guests, staff and volunteers understand and hopefully change their behaviour and make a difference.”
Aquariums are pledging to change their procurement policies, for example in restaurants and shops, to eliminate all single use plastic items. They will also be encouraged to ally with potential partners, sponsors, funders and NGOS to maximise impact by promoting best practices in behavioural change on a local, regional, national and global scale.
The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is also committed to help reduce the amount of plastic it uses, and particularly in reducing the amount of single use plastics. Its Ocean Gift Shop has removed all single use plastic stock, plastic bags, plastic stands, plastic shelves and is reducing the amount of multi-use plastic stock it sells. The Waves Café no longer sells single use plastic. All cups and bottles are glass or corn starch, and all single use sachets and containers have been replaced with sustainable options.
Roger Maslin, CEO of the National Marine Aquarium, said: “As a marine conservation and education charity, our focus is to connect people with our Oceans. The Oceans are vitally important to the health of our planet and it is becoming increasingly important for people to understand the effects of plastics on them.
“We are extremely proud to be a part of this worldwide aquarium collaboration and it’s fantastic to see people making pro-ocean behaviour changes, and the increasing awareness of their responsibility to care for this vital resource through aquariums work and campaigns.”