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The U.S Interior Department announced that they will phase out the sale of single-use plastic products in public lands and national parks by 2032.
The government is doing everything in its power to make sure that plastic pollution does not worsen while recycling rates continue to plunge.
The Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, has put down an order to lessen the sale and distribution of plastic products on over 480 million acres of public land. She further said that they would determine more areas in the future.
The initiative aims to reduce the number of plastics in landfills by 14 million tons, with an ultimate goal for these materials not to be disposed of irresponsibly into the environment, more specifically into the oceans. These single-use plastics are the most harmful to our environment because they don’t break down and can take up forever in a landfill if not properly disposed of.
These items include food containers like plastic cups or straws that consumers use only once before throwing away.
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In 2011, an initiative that banned plastic bottles in several national parks resulted in the reduction of 2 million plastic bottles in landfills every year. However, the Trump administration reversed the ban, and plastic pollution became worse.
The United States is one of the biggest plastic waste producers in the world – on top of a dropping recycling rate that fell between 5% and 6% last year.
This year, municipal solid waste is around 80,000 tons.
“The Interior Department has an obligation to play a leading role in reducing the impact of plastic waste on our ecosystems and our climate,” Haaland told the media.
“Today’s Order will ensure that the Department’s sustainability plans include bold action on phasing out single-use plastic products as we seek to protect our natural environment and the communities around them,” the secretary added.
The announcement made many environmental organizations happy. One such organization is Oceana, which are thrilled by this new development because they feel it will positively help the environment and ocean life in particular.
“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,” Christy Leavitt said, the plastics campaign director of Oceana.
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