Provided by Google Translate
Provided by Google Translate


A Voice for our Ocean

Leaders from Nearly 30 U.S. Organizations Call on Biden to Step Up National, Global Efforts to Tackle Interlinked Plastic and Climate Crises

Ahead of UN plastic treaty negotiations, conservation groups lay out an eight-point plan for tackling plastic pollution, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and safeguarding human and environmental health.

English Español Français Deutsch Italiano Português русский বঙ্গীয় 中文 日本語

Washington, D.C. (April 10, 2024) — Some 29 organizations representing 15 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Washington DC working to keep the ocean and other waterways free from plastic pollution asserted in a letter to the U.S. President released today that the country has the “opportunity and responsibility to be a leader” in tackling the plastic pollution crisis, which disproportionately impacts the ocean.

They lay out a comprehensive plan for how the U.S.—currently the leading generator of plastic waste—can become a trailblazer in plastic reduction, reuse and recycling. Among their many suggestions for how the U.S. can achieve this goal, they call on the Biden Administration to put into motion policies that would establish a national single-use plastic reduction target, prevent microplastics in drinking water, step up efforts to prevent the loss of plastic fishing gear, and establish a national plastic pollution tsar in the White House.

“Tackling the plastic pollution crisis won’t be easy to accomplish, but research shows that it’s possible with the right policies in place,” said Dr. Anja Brandon, Ocean Conservancy’s associate director of U.S. plastics policy, on the development of the letter. “Tackling plastic pollution is crucial to protecting wildlife, safeguarding human health and evening addressing the climate crisis–given that plastics are made from fossil fuels.”

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to address these urgent environmental threats. With 75% of Americans considering plastic pollution entering the ocean a pressing problem, the government must get on board.”

In addition to Ocean Conservancy, the letter’s signers represent organizations focused on ocean and river conservation and both upstream and downstream efforts to prevent plastic pollution such as reducing plastic production, product redesign for recallability, and cleanup efforts. They range from global and national groups to organizations focused on specific states and local areas.

They issued the letter in advance of the fourth round of United Nations negotiations (INC-4) for an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) on plastic pollution, widely known as the “global plastics treaty,” from April 23-29 in Ottawa, Canada. The treaty offers a historic opportunity to reduce the amount of plastic that enters the ocean.

“Right now, worldwide, 11 million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean each year from land-based sources—that’s equivalent to more than a garbage truck a minute,” said Brandon. “People, the planet, and wildlife are paying the price. We need a strong plastics treaty now before it’s too late.”

One of the key solutions to tackling the crisis is reducing the amount of plastics we make and use in the first place, which would also contribute to a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions feeding the climate crisis. Plastic production is currently responsible for 3–4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, roughly the same as the entire country of Germany, and projected to triple by 2050.

Reducing plastic production will also help safeguard human health. Recent studies have shown that humans are consuming an alarming amount of plastics, in the form of microplastics, through air, water and food. Ocean Conservancy recently found that Americans may be consuming as many as 3.8 million microplastics each year from protein consumption alone.

“To accomplish the interconnected goals of reducing plastic pollution, combating dangerous climate change, and protecting communities the solution is clear — we need to start by making less plastics, better reuse and recycle the plastics we do need, and continue targeted effective cleanups of plastics that do end up in the environment,” the letter asserts.

In brief, their eight-point plan calls on the U.S. to:

  • Establish a national reduction target for single-use plastics that would see an end to plastic pollution by 2040. This would include setting a national target to reduce the production and use of single-use plastics by at least 25% in 10 years, ramping that up over time. California’s 2022 legislation, SB54, provides a model for how this can work.
  • Support strong international agreement to end plastic pollution. Direct U.S. agencies to advocate and negotiate for an ambitious global plastics agreement that includes provisions across the full lifecycle of plastics, including reduction.
  • Support national policies to transition away from single-use plastics, making it easier to reuse or refill plastic. Data from Ocean Conservancy collected from four decades of beach cleanups shows single-use plastics are the most common items polluting beaches and waterways worldwide, including in the United States.
  • Harness plastic reduction to meet the nation’s commitment to fighting climate change and environmental justice harms. They suggest including plastic reduction targets and strategies in the U.S. government’s climate change action plans; ensuring that plastic production and waste facilities don’t pollute air or water; and eliminating federal subsidies for fossil fuel production, which leads to the production of new plastics.
  • Take action on microplastics to protect human health. This includes recognizing microplastics as hazardous and in need of regulation through, for example, the establishment of drinking water standards for microplastics.
  • Support targeted and effective cleanup efforts to reduce harm of plastics in the environment. This includes boosting funding of federal programs to remove debris from sensitive and economically important ecosystems.
  • Support the full life cycle management of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG, commonly known as ghost gear). Ghost gear is the single most deadly form of plastic pollution to marine life and as such requires specific dedicated actions to prevent and manage.

You can find the full letter HERE.

Media Contact

Roya Fox




Government Relations

From our headquarters in Washington DC, we’re working to ensure that our ocean gets the funding and attention it requires.

Your gift can help save our ocean

Our ocean faces many threats like the onslaught of ocean trash, overfishing and ocean acidification. With the help of donors like you, Ocean Conservancy is developing innovative solutions to save our ocean.

Back to Top Up Arrow