Oceana has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) starring actor and Oceana Board Member Sam Waterston about the dangers of ocean plastic pollution and the need for companies to give consumers with plastic-free choices.

“Our oceans sustain life that could feed a billion people a healthy seafood meal every day, forever. But the oceans are being killed and filled by throwaway plastics,” Waterston said. “We should not be forced to pollute the ocean every time we eat, drink, or go to the store. We need a choice – a plastic-free choice.”

17.6 billion pounds (8 million tons) of plastic enter the ocean every single year – equivalent to a garbage truck of plastic being dumped into the ocean every minute. Plastic trash ends up all over the world – on remote beaches, floating on the ocean surface, and miles deep on the bottom of the seafloor.

“Plastic never goes away. Once your soda bottle, straw, or candy wrapper is dumped into the ocean, it stays there forever,” added Waterston. “Sea turtles are choking on it, whales and dolphins ingest it, and even zooplankton, the base of the ocean food chain, are affected by it.”

While its touted as the solution to plastic waste, recycling cannot fix this crisis. Only 9% of all plastic waste generated has ever been recycled. “We can’t recycle our way out of this problem,” said Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana. “More plastic was manufactured in the previous decade than in the whole of the last century, and it is flooding into our oceans at an alarming rate. Consumers must be given plastic-free choices rather than the false hope and guilt created by recycling.”

Oceana is addressing this crisis by encouraging companies to take action to reduce plastic production and offer plastic-free choices, and by winning legislation that will reduce single-use plastics in strategic coastal countries around the world that combined account for more than 35% of plastic waste generated each year. Those interested in learning about the campaign can visit www.oceana.org/plastics for additional information.

The PSA is available at oceana.org/sam-waterston-plastic-free and will be airing on national television and radio.

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