• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

US to end single-use plastics on public lands and national parks by 2032

·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Biden administration has announced a plan to phase out single-use plastics on public lands and national parks by 2032.

The pledge was made as part of World Ocean Day on Wednesday.

Issued by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the order will phase out the procurement, sale and distribution of plastic and polystyrene food and beverage containers, bottles, straws, cups, cutlery and disposable plastic bags. It will take effect across America’s 423 national parks, including 88 ocean and coastal parks.

Less than 10 per cent of plastic waste ever produced gets recycled, and rates remain woefully low. Meanwhile plastic production continues to grow unabated.

In 2019, production and incineration of plastic added an estimated 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere – equivalent to 189 coal-fired power plants, according to the Center for International Environmental Law.

By midcentury, the impact on the climate crisis could be around three times greater: with 2.8 gigatons of CO2 annually being added, or 615 coal plants’ worth.

Finding nonhazardous replacements to single-use plastic products like compostable or biodegradable materials, or 100 per cent recycled materials is also part of the plan, according to Interior.

In a statement, Secretary Haaland said: “As the steward of the nation’s public lands, including national parks and national wildlife refuges, and as the agency responsible for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, we are uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth.”

Some 33 billion pounds of plastic enter marine environments from land every year, about the equivalent of dumping two garbage trucks full of plastic into the ocean every minute.

Not only is plastic harmful to fish and marine species, plastic degrades into tiny particle called microplastics which are pervasive in our water, food, soil and air.

Microplastics have also been discovered in the human body, with scientists continuing to investigate what their impacts are on human health.

The Biden administration also rolled out other ocean protections including the designation of a new national marine sanctuary to preserve the Hudson Canyon, a deepwater marine area off the New Jersey coast.

According to polling by the ocean conservation nonprofit, Oceana, 82 per cent of US voters support getting rid of single-use plastics at national parks.

“Our national parks, by definition, are protected areas — ones that Americans have loved for their natural beauty and history for over a century — and yet we have failed to protect them from plastic for far too long,” said Oceana’s plastics campaign director, Christy Leavitt, in a statement.

The Department of Interior’s single-use plastic ban will curb millions of pounds of unnecessary disposable plastic in our national parks and other public lands, where it can end up polluting these special areas.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting