Chair Grijalva Cheers Interior Department Ban on Single-Use Plastics, Other Biden Administration World Ocean Day Announcements

Washington, D.C. – Today, on World Ocean Day, Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement on the announcement from U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland to phase out single-use plastics on all DOI-managed public lands and waters, including National Park Service (NPS) units, by 2032. DOI’s phase-out plan will apply to all single-use plastics, including plastic bottles, bags, straws, and disposable utensils.

“Single-use plastic pollution is a serious threat to our planet—and nowhere is that clearer than our oceans,” Chair Grijalva said. “Plastic is choking, suffocating, and killing marine animals and fish, and now it’s on pace to outnumber them too—scientists predict that our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050. Our oceans don’t have a choice about whether they are filled with plastic, but we do. I commend Secretary Haaland and the Biden administration for taking this significant step to protect our oceans and for setting the model for what responsible stewardship of our public lands and waters should be.”

Every minute, the equivalent of two garbage trucks full of plastic is dumped into the ocean, amounting to more than 30 billion pounds of plastic every year. Once plastics enter the ocean, they break down into smaller particles, which are consumed by marine animals, including human food sources. Despite increased recycling efforts, only nine percent of plastic waste is recycled.

Under the Obama administration, NPS previously implemented a disposable plastic water bottle recycling and reduction policy that allowed park units to voluntarily ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. At the time, Grand Canyon National Park estimated that plastic bottles accounted for 20 percent of the park’s overall waste. The park also estimated that maintaining public water filling stations cost only $85 per year. The Trump administration rescinded the policy in 2017.

Chair Grijalva also commended President Biden’s announcement of several other actions to protect and conserve our oceans, including:

  • Development of a government-wide Ocean Climate Action Plan and a National Sustainable Ocean Plan
  • Release of an Environmental Justice Position Statement for federal ocean science and technology activities and investments
  • Designation of a new national marine sanctuary for the Hudson Canyon in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Implementation of nation-to-nation coordination between the federal government and Tribes for management of the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area.
  • The United States' entry into the UN Environment Program's Clean Seas Campaign

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