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A Voice for Our Ocean

Statement: Ocean Conservancy Commends Senate for Strengthening Plastics Reduction Measures in Save Our Seas Act 2.0

U.S. Senate Passes Ocean Plastics Legislation by Unanimous Consent

On January 9, 2020, the United States Senate passed Save Our Seas Act 2.0 by unanimous consent. Jeff Watters, Senior Director of Government Relations at Ocean Conservancy, released the following statement:

“In unanimously passing the bipartisan Save Our Seas Act 2.0, the Senate has offered a clear signal that ocean plastic pollution is a long-term policy priority for the United States, regardless of party or administration. Ocean Conservancy is especially thrilled to see a greater emphasis on reducing plastic waste in the final bill language. We simply cannot tackle the ocean plastics crisis without seriously curbing our reliance on unnecessary single-use plastics.

“With these added plastics reduction provisions, we believe Save Our Seas Act 2.0 takes several important steps toward the comprehensive, science-based approach needed to tackle ocean plastic pollution, and sets the stage for more ambitious action to come. The bill, which Ocean Conservancy has supported since its inception, rightly recognizes the global nature of the ocean plastics crisis; proposes badly needed improvements to both domestic and international waste management and recycling systems; and supports more research to better understand the problem and what interventions would be most effective.

“We are grateful to Sens. Whitehouse, Sullivan, and Menendez for their continued leadership, and to Sen. Udall for his important contributions to improving the bill. We look forward to working with their colleagues in the House to ensure this bill becomes law, and with all members of Congress on future legislation addressing ocean plastics. Plastic pollution is one of the most visible and most prolific threats facing our ocean, and it will take a suite of solutions to turn the tide. Save Our Seas Act 2.0 represents a continuation of the fight.”

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About Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

About Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas® Program

Ocean Conservancy has led the fight for a clean, trash-free ocean since 1986, when the organization launched its first annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) on a beach in Texas. Since then, the ICC has expanded to over 150 countries and has mobilized millions of volunteers to remove more than 300 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways around the globe, all the while logging each item and building the world’s largest database on marine debris.

In 2011, recognizing that cleanups alone will not solve the growing ocean plastics crisis, Ocean Conservancy convened leading researchers from around the world to establish a scientific baseline for the sources, fate and impact of plastics in our ocean. The groundbreaking study by Jambeck et al. (2015) published in Science was the key output from this group, and created a first estimate of annual plastic inputs into the ocean from land. In 2012, Ocean Conservancy launched the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, uniting conservationists, scientists and members of the private sector to work together for pragmatic, impactful solutions to the problem, such as the launch of Circulate Capital and Urban Ocean. In 2019, Ocean Conservancy assumed leadership of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to reduce the amount of lost and abandoned fishing gear entering the ocean and engage fishers on best practices. Learn more at oceanconservancy.org/trashfreeseas.