Top Aquariums Join Forces, Launch “In Our Hands” To Tackle Plastic Pollution

“In Our Hands” campaign
Pine Knoll Shores

The three North Carolina Aquariums have joined forces with other top aquariums across the country to create the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) which recently launched the “In Our Hands” campaign to address one of the gravest threats facing ocean and freshwater animals – plastic pollution.

Through the national “In Our Hands” campaign, which launched earlier this summer, these aquariums hope to empower their 20 million visitors and millions more in their communities to drive a national shift away from single-use plastic and toward innovative alternatives. The campaign includes a website that inspires visitors to make positive everyday behavior changes and raise awareness of the issue.

“As leaders in conservation the North Carolina Aquariums strive to make impactful efforts that reduce the flow of plastic to the ocean,” said Hap Fatzinger Director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. “Our hope is that our visitors and communities will see what we are doing to cut single-use plastics and will be inspired to make their own efforts. The ‘In Our Hands’ campaign is a great way for all of these voices to come together to make a difference on this pressing issue that threatens the health of wildlife in the ocean, lakes and rivers.”

All the aquariums are also supporting this shift away from single-use plastic within their own businesses. As of today, all ACP members have eliminated plastic straws and single-use plastic take-away bags in their facilities.

In hopes of additional plastic reduction, the aquariums have also committed to significantly reduce or eliminate plastic beverage bottles by December 2020 and showcase innovative alternatives to single-use plastic in their facilities. This summer, the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and the other aquariums are raising awareness and sparking consumer action, by bringing focus to the many ways they’ve cut back on single-use plastic in their operations.

To help reduce single-use plastic bottles the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores has installed water bottle filling stations for public and staff. They have also installed several new recycling stations on their grounds, and will host beach clean-ups late this summer.

About 8.8 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean each year worldwide – roughly a dump truck full of plastic every minute of every day. In the United States alone, plastic waste averages more than 200 pounds per person each year. If nothing changes, by 2025 the flow of plastic into the ocean is expected to double.

To get a look at the “In Our Hands” campaign, visit the website www.ourhands.org.

The ACP was first championed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, National Aquarium in Baltimore and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Coalition partners include: Aquarium of the Pacific; California Academy of Sciences/Steinhart Aquarium; and Monterey Bay Aquarium; Mystic Aquarium; The Florida Aquarium in Tampa; Shedd Aquarium; Newport Aquarium in Kentucky; Audubon Nature Institute/Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans; National Aquarium in Baltimore; New England Aquarium; Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium; Wildlife Conservation Society/New York Aquarium; the North Carolina Aquariums at Fort Fisher, at Pine Knoll Shores, and on Roanoke Island; South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston; Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga; Texas State Aquarium; Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center; Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium; and Seattle Aquarium.

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