Plastic pollution in the oceans is one of the major existential threats to life on this planet. Plastic in our food and water have contributed to lower sperm counts.
The success and proliferation of plastics starting in the early 20th century has led to environmental concerns regarding its slow decomposition rate. In 2018, a survey by the Global Oceanic Environmental Survey (GOES) Foundation found that the ecosystem in seas and oceans may collapse in the next 25 years, causing failure of terrestrial ecosystem and "very possibly the end of life on Earth as we know it.”
Shoppers worldwide are using 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year. 100,000 marine animals die every year from plastic entanglement. There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean--46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean. All the fish we eat are now contaminated with plastic particles.
Scientists have recently discovered plastic in the stomachs of baby fish off the coast of Hawaii―an alarming find that has significant ramifications for the entire food chain. The discovery was made during a large NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) project aimed at studying fish nurseries.
CARAT is dedicated to taking action locally, nationally and internationally to reduce plastic pollution.
CARAT has given notice to all major grocery store chains in California that it will sue them if they do not establish recycling facilities at every store. California law requires all grocery stores to accept the return of plastic, glass and metal bottles that have a deposit on them. Most grocery stores in the state have refused to comply with the law.
CARAT is proposing federal and state legislation to regulate the use of plastics.
CARAT supports passage of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act that was reintroduced in Congress in 2021. It is the most important piece of federal legislation since the Resource Con-servation and Recovery Act (RCRA) was passed in 1976, and enforced starting in 1991. While the RCRA ended open dumping of municipal solid waste and imposed strict regulations for landfills, the Breaking Free bill would impose profound changes in an attempt to rein in the proliferation of plastic waste and its impact on air, land and water resources, as well as on human life.
The Break Free bill’s provisions would:
1. Declare a temporary moratorium on new virgin plastic production;
2. Impose a national container deposit system;
3. Require minimum recycled content in plastic products;
4. Restrict exports of plastic; and
5. And ban single use plastic food service items.