YOU can help stop plastic pollution! Join the challenge!
In March, 265 Clark County residents participated in the WasteBusters Challenge to reduce waste by pledging to take their own reusable bag to the store, use a reusable coffee cup, or reduce food waste. Challenges like these are a fun way to challenge yourself and your friends and family to reduce waste. Can't wait for the next WasteBusters (annually in March)? You're in luck! The Coalition of North American Zoos and Aquariums has partnered with EcoChallenge.org (formerly Northwest Earth Institute) to offer the Plastic Free EcoChallenge this July! The challenge urges participants to refrain from using single-use plastic items during the month of July. The effort is a campaign to raise awareness of the adverse effects of single-use plastics on wildlife and the environment and what we can do to help protect both marine and terrestrial environments from plastic pollution.
Why focus on reducing plastic use and waste? Plastic bags and items cause hazards for wildlife that can easily become entangled and trapped in plastic waste. Plastic bags in the ocean, for example, are often mistaken as jelly fish and can cause suffocation and fatal poisoning in jelly fish predators such as sea turtles. Plastic does not decompose in nature. Instead, it breaks down into tiny particles called microplastics. This process releases toxins into the environment that are dangerous to wildlife and humans. Additionally, microplastics have been found from the deepest depths of the ocean, to most municipal drinking water sources. In marine environments, these plastics are often consumed by fish and marine wildlife who mistake them for plankton and algae. Eventually these microplastics make their way up the food chain to larger animals like whales, seabirds, and even humans.
32% of the 78 million tons of single-use plastic packaging produced annually flows into our oceans - that's like pouring one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute1. Join the Plastic Free EcoChallenge today to increase awareness of the plastic pollution problem, and the solutions! You can sign up for the pledge on the Plastic Free EcoChallenge website. Pledge participants earn points for completing different actions like making homemade cleaners, replacing bathroom soaps with refillable or bar options, or switching to more environmentally friendly kitty litter! Challenge your friends, coworkers, family, and neighbors, and see who can earn the most points. Take a look at all of the actions on their website, and be inspired to reduce plastic waste!