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Texas State Aquarium joins plastic ban

More than 8 million tons of plastics enter oceans worldwide each year, damaging wildlife and habitats. Courtesy photo

No more plastic straws or plastic single-use shopping bags at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. Ranked as among the top 10 aquariums in the nation by a USA Today readers’ poll, the newly expanded facility recently joined 18 other aquariums in a campaign to reduce ocean and freshwater plastic pollution.

"We’re constantly working to reduce ocean pollution through our everyday operations," said aquarium President and CEO Tom Schmid in a news release. "We’ve eliminated plastic water bottles from our premises, removed hundreds of tons of marine debris from local beaches and encourage our guests to recycle, reuse and reduce plastic."

All 19 aquariums belong to the Aquarium Conservation Partnership’s “In Our Hands” program. Among those are the National Aquarium in Baltimore; Shedd Aquarium in Chicago; and Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey Bay, California.

Anti-plastic goals include significantly reducing or eliminating plastic beverage bottles by December 2020 and showcasing innovative alternatives to single-use plastic in their facilities such as providing reusable bags, paper straws and reusable water bottles and water refilling stations.

Aquariums will also advocate for policy changes to reduce plastic pollution at the local, state and national levels.

Research shows that more than 8 million tons of plastic enters oceans worldwide each year, significantly damaging marine life and habitats.

"As leaders in aquatic conservation, aquariums are expected to walk their talk, and that's exactly what this partnership is meant to do," National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli said. "We are uniquely qualified to set an example for others — in reducing our plastic footprint, encouraging sustainable operating practices, and inspiring hope in a public that is hungry to be part of the solution. We're right where we should be."

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