SeaWorld Removes Single-Use Plastic Straws and Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags
June 11, 2018
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. has cut single-use plastic drinking straws and single-use plastic shopping bags from all of its 12 theme parks, it announced.
The move comes just after World Oceans Day on June 8.
“This milestone environmental achievement is a testament to our mission to protect the environment, the ocean, and the animals we share our planet with, which are currently threatened by unprecedented amounts of plastic pollution,” says John Reilly, interim chief executive officer for SeaWorld Entertainment. “We see the harmful effects of plastic pollution in the animals we rescue and rehabilitate, and therefore recognize the importance of doing our part to curb plastic pollution.”
The Ocean Conservancy estimates 8 million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean each year on top of the 150 million metric tons currently circulating the planet. The plastics in the ocean have made their way into the diets of marine animals that mistake it for food and become sick or die.
“We’ve seen firsthand the horrific damage that plastic pollution causes to animals,” says Jon Peterson, manager of rescue operations for SeaWorld Orlando. “Some studies have indicated that more than half of sea turtles out in the wild ingest some form of plastic. In fact, just this week, we performed surgery on a rescued sea turtle who became ill from ingesting plastic and other ocean debris.”
In addition to its decision to remove plastic straws and bags from its parks, SeaWorld says it plans to invest in more renewable energy. Those strides include Aquatica San Diego’s efforts to generate 80 to 90 percent of its power from solar energy.
The organization says it has lowered its greenhouse gas emissions by 9 percent between 2014 and 2017 and bolstered its waste materials recycling efforts by more than 50 percent over the same period.
“We’re proud of the incredible progress our parks have made in waste, water, and energy reduction,” says Bill Street, SeaWorld’s corporate curator of conservation and education. “It’s efforts like these, multiplied by key partnerships with conservation-minded organizations, that will continue to make a difference in how we impact our planet and benefit the amazing animals that call it home.”