Plastic pollution is one of the greatest conservation issues of our time, and it’s considered by many to be at crisis levels. And, unfortunately, our Charleston waters are not immune. In fact, a 2014 Citadel study estimates that 7 tons of plastic are in the Charleston Harbor and surrounding tributaries – and that study was conducted almost four years ago!
If nothing is done, researchers predict there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. What does that mean for our beautiful harbor? Furthermore, what does it mean for our beloved sea turtles?
Sea turtles are a window into the health and well-being of our oceans. In almost 18 years of treating sick and injured sea turtles at the South Carolina Aquarium, 17 patients have had plastics in their GI tracts. As of May 2017, 15 of those were treated just in the last 4 years, clearly demonstrating that plastic pollution is a rapidly-growing issue.
That’s why we were so excited when Charleston County Public Library, in partnership with the Aquarium, National Marine Sanctuaries Program and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program, committed to doing away with plastic bags. This will keep 20,000 bags out of circulation annually, proving that you don’t have to be a scientist, a biologist, or an environmental expert to protect our oceans. Individuals like you, along with institutions like the Charleston County Public Library, can defend our oceans and the remarkable creatures who call it home by opting out of single-use plastics, like plastic bags.
During June and July, Aquarium staff will be at CCPL branches giving away free, reusable bags and talking about the effects of plastic in our oceans. Stop by and see us! Dates are listed below: