International Marine Debris Conference

September 18 September 23

The 7th International Marine Debris Conference (7IMDC) will build on the momentum of past IMDCs by bringing together governments, industry, academia, civil society, and all relevant stakeholders, to discuss the latest science, strengthen collaborations, find solutions and catalyze action to address the urgent, global problem of marine litter and plastic pollution.

INFORM
Participants will be able to submit abstracts and posters, attend technical sessions and join field activities to learn more about marine litter and plastic pollution.

CONNECT
There will be many opportunities to network, exchange ideas and learn from each other throughout 7IMDC.

INSPIRE
Get inspired by attending exhibitions, movie nights, poster competition, learning how to go zero waste and much more!

June 18 is International Surfing Day, and surfers were among the first to call attention to the global plastic pollution crisis. From the coasts of the United States to the shores of Australia to the beaches of Southeast Asia and South America, plastic has been washing ashore at greater and greater volumes over the past several decades, as the plastics and petrochemical industries pump out the material at an accelerating pace. And so a dedicated subculture of wave riders found themselves turning to activism to protect the beaches and waters they loved from plastic pollution.

Plastic Pollution Coalition has worked with a dynamic range of surfers and surfer-led organizations for the past decade. In honor of International Surfing Day, we’d like to highlight a few of these inspiring colleagues and friends.

1. Surfrider Foundation

We begin with our friends and colleagues at Surfrider Foundation, as they helped create International Surfing Day! For over 35 years, Surfrider Foundation has been working to protect our coastlines (and the entire Earth) from plastic pollution. 

Beginning with organized beach cleanups in the 1990s, Surfrider shifted focus toward policy in 2011, petitioning lawmakers to ban single-use plastic items, among other efforts, to ensure plastic never reached the beaches in the first place. 

Now with many chapters worldwide, Surfrider has continued affecting positive legislative changes to reduce plastic pollution across the globe. 

2. Kelly Slater

Kelly Slater is an American professional surfer, best known for being crowned World Surf League champion a record 11 times. He is regarded by many as “the GOAT”—greatest professional surfer of all time.

As a staunch advocate for ocean protection by reducing single-use plastics, Slater supports alternative materials, founded OUTERKNOWN, and built the Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California.

Plastic pollution seems irreversible and so horrible. We are ruining numerous ecosystems by overwhelming them with physical and chemical pollution.

Kelly Slater, from conversation with Impacting Our Future

3. Allison Teal

Alison Teal is an explorer, filmmaker, and surfer. Growing up around the world and raised by adventurous parents world-renowned for their photography, which appeared in National Geographic Magazine among other publications, Alison has continued her life of adventure into adulthood and travels the world most of the year.

Alison is a passionate activist who has used her international platform to call attention to the global plastics crisis. She has produced many short films depicting her paddle surfing in a sea of plastic pollution around the world.

4. Dr. Wallace J Nichols

Dr. Wallace J Nichols is a scientist, activist, community organizer, author and lifelong ocean protector. Nichols is a PPC founding member and scientific advisor. He works to inspire a deeper connection with nature through his talks, writing, photography, and film.

His book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do is an international bestseller.

Dr. Nichols authored a blog for Plastic Pollution Coalition detailing trips to the beach with his daughters—who had become overwrought by the prospect of more plastic cleanups, and all the pollution that was preventing them from fully enjoying their beach time.

Dr. Nichols is currently hosting the 9th Annual 100 Days of Blue Challenge asking people to get near, in, on or under water daily. The challenge runs from May 30 through September 6 and invites people to share their inspiring experiences with water across social media networks by tagging #bluemind.

5. Mark Cunningham

Mark Cunningham is a body surfer—meaning rather than climbing up on a board to ride crashing waves, he rides using only his body. Mark is considered by many to be the best body surfer in the world. 

With his deep understanding of the ocean, Mark has become a very proactive ally in the movement to address plastic pollution. From appearing in documentary films like The Smog of the Sea, to protecting the North Shore of Oahu, to creating and exhibiting works of art made from washed up and found plastic pollution, Mark’s passion for keeping the oceans and the rest of the planet free of plastic and its toxic impacts is inspiring.

6. Gerry Lopez

When it comes to legendary surfers, few achieve such renown for their abilities as Gerry Lopez, who has been dubbed “Mr. Pipeline” by his peers and surf fans around the world. 

From the age of 14, when he won his first state championship in his home of Hawaii, Gerry has traveled the globe riding the waves of superstardom for his surfing talent. Practically living in the water, Gerry watched as the beaches and oceans he loved began to transform into repositories of plastic waste. 

In 2011, Gerry wrote an essay for Plastic Pollution Coalition reminiscing fondly of a time when surfing was plastic-free.

The splendid waves of G-Land never seemed to change and we enjoyed surfing them over the next 20 years. It was a surf paradise beyond compare. And it opened my eyes to how quickly an absolutely pristine, totally natural place can become a mess. Plastic is a problem for all of us. It creates toxic pollution during its manufacture, use, and disposal. Recycling is not a solution, every bit of plastic made, still exists.

Gerry Lopez

7. Ben Harper

Photo Credit: Ben Harper at Bonnaroo Music Festival, by Danny Clinch.

Ben Harper is a three-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is also an avid skater and surfer and has been credited as a musician who makes music “for surfers by surfers.”

Ben uses his international platform to promote awareness on a multitude of issues, including plastic pollution. He is a founding member of Plastic Pollution Coalition.

8. Jack Johnson

Photo Credit: Dianna Cohen, Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Jack Johnson is a prolific singer/songwriter and avid surfer. The son of the late surfer Jeff Johnson, Jack began surfing at five years old and was the youngest participant at age 17 to reach the finals of the Pipeline Masters in Maui. Soon after, Jack left competitive surfing and began focusing on music and filmmaking.

Jack has also encouraged his fans to take part in the Plastic-Free July challenge. With Kim, Jack co-founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation—a non-profit organization that supports environmental education in schools and communities in Hawaiʻi, and created Plastic-Free Hawaii.

If you’re heading to a Jack Johnson concert this year in Washington D.C. on June 24; Berkeley, CA, on September 28; Los Angeles, CA, on October 1; or Chula Vista, CA, on October 7, be sure to say hi to the Plastic Pollution Coalition team! We’re excited to partner with Jack Johnson on his 2022 Summer Tour as an All At Once Non-Profit Partner. All At Once is Jack’s social action network connecting nonprofits with people who want to take action and give back to their community, by promoting sustainable and equitable food systems, plastic-free initiatives, healthy watersheds, and more!

9. Donavon Frankenreiter

Donavon Frankenreiter is an American musician and former professional surfer. 

Donavon uses his music and platform to elucidate to his global audience the threat of plastic pollution. As part of his plastic pollution activism, Donavon teamed up with Brazilian singer-activist Céu and others to produce the song and campaign “Listen to the Ocean”—a project aimed at inspiring people to take action to keep plastic from entering the ocean.

10. Chris & Keith Malloy

Surfer/filmmakers Chris & Keith Malloy have spent years traveling the world searching for the best little-known surfing spots. From Antarctica to Iceland and from Galapagos to New Caledonia, no matter how remote the place was, plastic was already there. They documented this experience in a short film titled Plastic Gets There First.

Keith’s debut solo documentary Come Hell or High Water, which he wrote, produced, directed, and participated on screen in, was dedicated to Plastic Pollution Coalition and to Keep The Country Country.

11. Laird Hamilton

Laird Hamilton, considered by many to be one of the greatest living outer wave surfers, is renowned as an original innovator of big wave surfing. He and a group of his peers invented the “tow-in surfing” method, where surfers are towed onto massive waves too large, powerful, and fast to be paddled onto. 

Laird has a rule: any plastic he encounters while surfing, he brings ashore. For as consistent a surfer as Laird, this is a tall order, as the oceans have progressively filled with more and more plastic each year.

In 2011, Laird and his wife Gabrielle Reece, professional volleyball player and model, joined Plastic Pollution Coalition for a special World Oceans Day PSA about reducing our global dependence on polluting plastics.

12. Garrett McNamara

Garrett McNamara is an 8-time Guinness World Record holder for the largest wave ever surfed—which breaks on the shores of Nazaré, Portugal.

In 2018, Garrett launched a campaign to reduce plastic pollution—dubbing it as his effort to give back to the oceans and seas what they had given him after a lifetime of surfing. He has organized beach cleanups and awareness events, and uses social media extensively to encourage people to reduce their own plastic footprints. Garrett is featured in the award-winning HBO documentary series, 100 Foot Wave.

13. Sierra Quitiquit

Sierra Quitiquit is a model, skier, surfer, and activist who co-founded Plastic Free Fridays in 2019. Plastic Free Fridays’ mission is to help individuals avoid single-use plastics by raising awareness and shaping positive habits, while also working towards systemic change on the community, corporate, and policy levels.

14. Plastic Soup Surfer

Merijn Tinga is a biologist and artist—but once he steps into the water, he becomes the Plastic Soup Surfer

Tinga has made it his life’s mission to stop plastic pollution from entering the oceans at the source: the industries that pump out more than 400 million metric tons of plastic annually. The Plastic Soup Surfer advocates for better regulations to put pressure on companies to take responsibility for their plastic pollution.

15. Surfers Against Sewage

Surfers Against Sewage is a grassroots collective of surfers and activists who have, since 1990, organized across the UK to eliminate plastic pollution, sewage, and other hazardous pollutants from beaches.

In 2017, Surfers Against Sewage launched their Plastic Free Communities, Plastic Free Schools, and Plastic Free Coastlines initiatives, creating action plans for community leaders and helping schools and businesses become plastic free.

16. Surf and Clean

Surf and Clean is a Spain-based non-profit organization founded by Surfers. Their mission is to educate the public about plastic pollution and its impacts on social justice and the environment—especially how it harms the ocean. 

They have a simple message for all surfers: “Siempre que vayas a surfear recoge algo de la playa.” [Whenever you go surfing, pick up something from the beach.]

17. Surfers for Climate

Surfers for Climate is an Australian-based NGO founded by surfers and dedicated to turning the tide on climate change.

Surfers for Climate was co-founded by surfers Johnny Abegg and Belinda Baggs, who attended a climate summit on Heron Island, Queensland, Australia, in October 2019. They were moved by what they learned about climate science, the harmful effects of climate change on people and nature, and the solutions that were presented by Australia’s leading scientists and policy experts. Most importantly, though, they were struck by the critical role the oceans play in our climate system, and they committed to raising awareness of these issues in Australia and beyond.

18. Cigarette Surfboard

The Cigarette Surfboard Project was founded by documentarian surfers Taylor Lane & Ben Judkins who are currently making a documentary about plastic pollution and funding the film by making surfboards out of washed up and collected plastic cigarette butts from beaches around the world.

19. The Wahine Project

The Wahine  Project was created in 2010 as an effort to reach young girls around the world who would otherwise not have access to the resources that would allow them to surf. 

The Wahine Project seeks to break down the barriers that prevent the participation of youth in ocean sports—whether geographical, financial, or a lack of opportunity—and provide youth the chance to become proficient “water humans.” As a result of this relationship, young people are given a sense of responsibility and instilled with an awareness of climate change, environmental injustice, and their ability to create positive change in the world.

20. Dianna Cohen

Last but not least, Plastic Pollution Coalition CEO & Co-Founder Dianna Cohen is an eternally aspiring longboarder and scuba diver.

A visual artist from Southern California, Dianna watched as beaches worldwide began accumulating more and more toxic plastic over the decades. She began transmuting the plastic she found into compelling works of art, and upon learning more about the material, pushed for plastic to be called what it is: pollution. She has spent over a decade advocating for policies to reduce plastic production and use and encouraging people to refuse single-use plastics.

In 2019, Dianna received the Environmentalist of the Year award from the Surf Industry Members Association (SIMA) and was presented the award by PPC notable, multiple Academy Award-winning actor, and surf enthusiast Jeff Bridges.

YOU CAN HELP PROTECT THE OCEANS TOO!

Celebrate International Surfing Day and help keep the oceans—and our entire planet—free of plastic pollution. Take the pledge to refuse single-use plastics, and ask your friends to do the same.

Company Sets a Higher Standard for the Health & Beauty Industry 

By Joshua Scott Onysko, Founder and CEO of Pangea Organics

Last year, my organic body- and skincare company Pangea Organics went plastic free! While many health and beauty businesses are still wrapping their products in plastics, at Pangea we have transitioned to recyclable aluminum and glass, and compostable wood pulp. We mark our products with a small sea turtle icon, indicating they are completely plastic free, and thus compatible with #LifeAfterPlastic.

Inspired by Sea Turtles

My connection to sea turtles is personal: When I was 19 years old, I moved to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to work with a conservation team on the Caribbean coast, and we’d stay up all night to guard egg-laying sea turtles, protecting them from poachers. I’ve also been a longtime scuba diver and seeing plastic pollution in our oceans entangling the inhabitants was (and still is) devastating to me.

Sea turtles are harmed by plastic items people use everyday, including plastic packaging and other single-use plastic products like straws, face masks, and bags. Plastic is a physical danger to sea turtles, causing entanglement and entrapment, and choking and bodily blockages. But plastic is also a chemical danger to sea turtles, exposing them to a constant stream of toxic chemicals, with which plastic is made and which leach out into nature and living bodies.

Our Transition to Plastic-Free Packaging

At Pangea, we hold ourselves to a standard of continuously raising the bar to push for real change in the beauty industry. Over the past year, we transitioned Pangea (as well as our sister brand, Alpine Provisions) to completely plastic-free packaging to hold our organic, fairly sourced, and cruelty free body- and skincare products. 

The transition to plastic-free packaging was a significant investment for us to make, and we have paid attention to every detail—down to the custom aluminum cap on our tubes. The caps are a first-to-market innovation, two-and-a-half years in the making. All of our secondary packaging is also fully recyclable and/or compostable; the molded fiber clamshells used on all our glass bottles are made of wood pulp and completely compostable.

The Problem with Plastics

In my opinion, every company should be working to eliminate plastics from their businesses. More than 400 million metric tons of new plastic are produced globally each year. Instead of being truly recycled, about 79% of plastic has been historically dumped in landfills and the natural environment, about 12% has been burned (incinerated), and much plastic is shipped “away” to become someone else’s problem. Most often, plastic waste is sent to BIPOC, rural, or low-income communities. Plastic is not truly recycled like other materials: We need to refill, reuse, repair, share, and enact and enforce legislation that holds the plastics and petrochemical industries accountable for the pollution they have created.

Building an Eco-Conscious Company

It’s been my lifelong dream to build a health and beauty brand with the highest quality clean ingredients, and support small organic farmers around the world. When I was young, my mom kept a coffee-table book about organic ingredients. One day, it inspired us to make a small batch of organic soaps by hand together, out of our garage. We started selling the soaps in our local farmers markets, and to our delight, they continually sold out.

This organic soap making experience led me to start researching the health and beauty industry, and I decided to travel the world. On these travels, I began to build relationships and a vast network of organic farmers in over 50 regions. After two years of traveling, I knew the business I wanted to build needed to support small, organic, regenerative farms with fair labor practices.

Meaningful change can start with making one informed, conscious decision. I want to inspire all industries to put the Earth and our health ahead of profit and start to rethink and redesign how we package our products. And I want consumers to know that they can be empowered by their choices, including the purchase of high quality health and beauty products that do not contain toxins or plastics. 

How You Can Help

People can be a part of solutions by investing in reusable, refillable, and truly recyclable plastic-free products. Give Pangea a try! We hope consumers and brands alike will join us in our #LifeAfterPlastic mission. We are strongly aligned with the work of Plastic Pollution Coalition, and are proud Plastic Pollution Coalition Business Members. We know change starts with information and education, and people who are passionate about a cause.

This World Turtle Day, we’re bringing attention to the sea turtle icon we place on our plastic-free packaging as a way for us to educate and encourage conversations about the impacts of plastic pollution, which are vast. Not only do plastics harm turtles, but all life on Earth. It’s more important now than ever before to make safe, healthy, and affordable plastic-free products widely available. Pangea, our name, is symbolic of our vision: Bringing the world back together again.

It’s World Oceans Day, and we are spotlighting our Coalition member Pirani Life, a company on a mission to end single-use and help everyone party sustainably. We spoke with Pirani Life’s founders Brandegee Pierce and Danielle Del Sordo to learn more about the story behind their reusable cups and tumblers.

How have you seen your beaches change over the years growing up in South Florida? 

Being on this beautiful planet and in South Florida 35 years, we’ve seen a steady increase of coral reef bleaching, eroding coastlines, and trash scattered across the sand and in the ocean from both littering beach goers as well as marine debris that washes ashore after storms and on a regular basis.  Brandegee on his 30th birthday was stuck with a needle that washed up on the beach (fortunately after a doctor’s visit, there was no issues but still really scary!)  Sadly, it got to a point where I (Danielle) could no longer go on a jog in the sand without getting infuriated with all the trash on my path.  It would end up turning into a cleanup vs a peaceful workout. We became a part of the #LitterFreeFlorida movement filled with organizations and individuals who are cleaning the coast on weekly and often daily basis, educating beach goers, students and citizens of South Florida to do better, choose reusables and take action for a better planet. 

We have recently expanded to the mountains in Asheville NC, where we see significantly less trash, and different types of litter, although it still exists and all streams lead to the sea.  We can see why not seeing trash directly entering our oceans could be a disconnect for people to think that it’s not that big of a deal to change their lifestyle and choose reusables over single use.  That’s why we are here to continue to create awareness!

How did you come up with the Pirani Party Tumbler?

Stepping outside of our comfort zones was never a challenge for us. We are designers with a passion to make a difference. In 2013, we quit our Corporate America careers in Industrial Design (Brandegee) and Costume Design (Danielle) to travel the world. We lived out of a backpack for 18 months looking for inspiration to start up an eco-friendly company together. Ideas ranged from sustainable swimwear to a healthy food truck, and the list can go on. Fast forward 6.5 years and Pirani Life was born!

Most of our sports take place in the ocean, and we were lucky enough to live one block from it. As South Florida native water babies living an active outdoor lifestyle, we grew tired of seeing litter scattered across our beautiful beaches. One of the biggest offenders was always that iconic red party cup. This fueled Brandegee to design the first vacuum insulated version of it. After countless 3D-printed prototypes created in our home studio (a.k.a. the living room), he was determined to create the last party cup you will ever need and help put a stop to the billions of single-use plastic cups that are tossed every year.

Pirani’s mission is to empower everyday heroes in safeguarding our planet through raising eco-awareness and creating sustainable solutions.  The biggest sense of accomplishment is when people tell us that through our messaging and brand, we made them think twice about using single-use items.  

What does #PartySustainably mean to you?

#PartySustainably is what makes Pirani Life, Pirani. We want the party to carry on without the waste we’ve seen in order to take better care of our beaches, forests, and the planet as a whole. You may see #PartySustainably and wonder where to even begin. Honestly, it’s anything that involves living the good life and taking better care of the environment to help the lives of others and for generations to come. To Party Sustainably means thinking about what you can do better to live your best life without relying on single-use plastics or overlooking picking up after yourself during a good time.

What plastic-free living tips do you have that people might not have thought of?

At Pirani Life, we like to spread the message that living sustainably is not about being perfect and every small action makes a difference.  Here are some of our favorite ways to #LiveSustainably at Pirani Life:

·      Forgot your reusable bags?  Wheel your groceries out of the store and bag at the car!

·      Got your favorite pho takeout but it comes in plastic?  Keep the container and use it as Tupperware!  Giving plastic a second, third, or fourth life is much better than single-use!

·      Don’t be shy!  Ask every barista, bartender, smoothie or juice maker to pour in your Pirani!  You will be surprised at how many say yes.

·      Don’t “Wishcycle”  and NEVER RECYCLE THIN FILM PLASTIC! We spent some time visiting recycling plants and the most important thing we learned is recycling will never be viable if its cost outweighs the benefit.  Thin film plastic like shopping bags clogs facilities and increases the cost of recycling a lot.

We can go on and on with this list, but those are our top 4!

If you could tell the world one message about plastic pollution, what would it be?

Imperfection in masses is better then perfection by a niche group.  Although we respect the zero-waste community a ton, the cold hard truth is the vast majority of people on this planet will never be zero waste.  Instead of shaming people for using a straw, commend them for using a Pirani Tumbler 😁 or a reusable bag or skipping the plastic water bottle.  Eventually as this message disseminates to the youth, we will hopefully have an overwhelming majority of people that care for this planet and be in powerful positions to make legislative and corporate decisions that are needed to improve the health of our beautiful and hopefully forgiving planet.

Join our global Coalition.

8

Via IPEN

Escalating Chemical Production Threatens Aquatic Food Chain

(Report)

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN – Increasing levels of chemical and plastic pollution are major contributors to declines in the world’s fish populations and other aquatic organisms, according to a new report released today. The report is the first to bring together in one place the latest scientific research demonstrating how chemical pollution is adversely impacting the aquatic food chain that supports all life on earth.

“Many people think fish declines are just the result of overfishing. In fact, the entire aquatic food web has been seriously compromised, with fewer and fewer fish at the top, losses of invertebrates in the sediments and water column, less healthy marine algae, coral, and other habitats, as well as a proliferation of bacteria and toxic algal blooms. Chemical pollution, along with climate change, itself a pollution consequence, are the chief reasons for these losses,” said Dr. Matt Landos, report author and Director of Future Fisheries Veterinary Services.

Aquatic Pollutants in Oceans and Fisheries documents the science and numerous ways in which chemicals compromise reproduction, development, and immune systems among aquatic and marine organisms. The report is a joint project of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and the National Toxics Network (NTN).

Authors of the Aquatic Pollutants report warn that the impacts scientists have identified are only likely to grow in the coming years and will be exacerbated by a changing climate.

“The production and use of chemicals have grown exponentially over the past couple of decades. Many chemicals persist in the environment, making environments more toxic over time. If we do not address this problem, we will face permanent damage to the marine and aquatic environments that have nourished humans and every other life form since the beginning of time,” said Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, IPEN Senior Advisor and report co-author.

Key areas of concern are:

Industrial releases. Industrial facilities continue to release millions of kilograms of toxic materials, including PCBs, dioxins, industrial flame retardants, and the perfluorinated ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS into rivers, streams, lakes, and ocean waters each year. Historic industrial pollutants are re-released via dredging, while coal combustion and small-scale gold mining have substantially increased toxic mercury concentrations in the Pacific Ocean.

Pesticides. Many pesticides known to cause harm are still in widespread use and are present at harmful levels in aquatic environments. Some of these substances not only bio-accumulate in aquatic organisms, but they also destroy the habitat and food supplies aquatic organisms depend on for life, including insects. Pesticides enter aquatic and marine environments through direct sources such as run-off from agriculture, golf courses, sports fields, parks, and residential properties, as well as through indirect sources such as sewage treatment plants and spray drift.

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Wastewater treatment facilities do not remove all pharmaceutical residues, and these products are now found throughout marine and coastal waters, as well as rivers and streams. A 2019 global study found at least one antibiotic in two-thirds of the sites studied and unsafe levels of antibiotics in 15% of the sites.

Plastics. Many plastic chemicals are toxic, and microplastics also attract, concentrate, and magnify other persistent toxic chemicals from the surrounding aquatic environment onto their surfaces. Microplastics have been found in commercial fish species throughout the world. Fish and other organisms often mistake the tiny plastic pieces for food, thereby contributing to their malnutrition and exposing fish and the food chain – including fish eaters – to toxic chemicals. This problem is only likely to grow as the petrochemical industry offsets falling fossil fuel revenues with planned rapid growth in plastics production.

“We are at the precipice of disaster, but we do have an opportunity for recovery. The out-of-control expansion of the polluters – the oil, gas, plastics, and chemical sectors – needs to be reined in. Governments around the world must urgently acknowledge the environmental, economic, and public health degradation caused by chemical pollution and act on the scientific evidence to develop policy and lead their communities to totally re-think how chemicals are used,” said Jo Immig, NTN National Coordinator and report co-author.

The report notes that progress will require fundamental changes in the way we produce, use and manage chemicals and their associated wastes. Addressing ocean pollution and its impacts on fisheries will need substantial shifts in industries, economies, and governance, including the cessation of destructive industries like deep-sea mining and stopping the devastating practice of using our waterways as waste dumps. Re­generative approaches to agriculture and aquaculture are urgently required to help lower carbon emissions, stop further pollution, and begin the restoration process. Transitioning away from fossil fuel extraction and use remains an urgent priority, as well as holding chemical producers accountable and responsible under the polluter pays principle.

IPEN (International Pollutants Elimination Network) is a global environmental network of over 600 public interest NGOs in 124 countries, working to eliminate and reduce the most hazardous substances to forge a toxics-free future for all. IPEN is registered in Sweden as a public interest non-profit organization.

NTN (National Toxics Network) is a not-for-profit civil society network, based in Australia, striving for pollution reduction, protection of environmental health, and environmental justice for all. NTN is committed to a toxics-free future.

FAQs on ‘Seaspiracy’ [Updated on Mar. 29, 10 am EST]

Why did Plastic Pollution Coalition staff not answer the question about stopping eating fish when the filmmakers asked?

We were excited to sit down with the filmmakers to talk about plastic pollution and what people can do to help. Unfortunately, although the filmmakers said they were interested in the work of Plastic Pollution Coalition, when we answered the questions, they bullied our staff and cherry-picked seconds of our comments to support their own narrative. Despite our efforts to provide documentation of the plastic pollution crisis and our work before, during, and after, they chose instead to grossly distort and mischaracterize our staff and organization. 

What does it mean that Plastic Pollution Coalition is a “project” of Earth Island Institute?

Plastic Pollution Coalition is an independent project of Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)3, non-profit organization, organized and existing under the laws of California. We are not funded by Earth Island Institute; rather, we pay Earth Island Institute to run our human resources and payroll for our small and mighty staff of 9 people. Our work is in no way dictated by Earth Island Institute.

To learn more about the mischaracterization of the Earth Island Institute in the film, see the statement here.

How much of ocean plastic pollution comes from fishing gear?

The film misrepresented the ocean plastic pollution crisis to suit the filmmakers’ agenda. The film claimed 48 percent of ocean plastic consists of fishing nets, while not including the fact that this came from a study of one ocean gyre. In fact, fishing gear represents 10 percent of ocean plastic overall, according to a Greenpeace report. 

Less than 5 percent of all the plastic produced ends up in the ocean. Globally about 350 million tons of plastic is produced every year, and about 10 million tons end up in the ocean every year. Plastic pollutes across its lifecycle, from extraction of the fossil fuels, to use, and disposal (whether ending up in the ocean or our environment). 

Why won’t you tell people to stop eating fish?

We commend those who make personal eating choices to benefit our oceans and environment. We agree with Oceana that people have the right to choose what they eat. Eliminating fish from your diet may be possible for some of us and may not be possible for some cultures and communities around the world. 

Why is Plastic Pollution Coalition deleting comments on ‘Seaspiracy’ on your Instagram?

Unfortunately, we have received hate mail, death threats, and posts sharing our staff’s personal information on Instagram and other social media channels to such extent that we had to turn off comments for the safety of our staff. You can reach us directly by emailing editor@plasticpollutioncoalition.org. We welcome your questions but do not tolerate hate of any kind. 

What does Plastic Pollution Coalition do and how can I get involved to stop plastic pollution?

Plastic Pollution Coalition is a global alliance of more than 1,200 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in 75 countries working toward a more just, equitable world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals, waterways, oceans, and the environment. 

We have pioneered awareness, messaging, and solutions to plastic pollution for twelve years. Join our global Coalition and learn more about the U.S. federal legislation to stop plastic pollution that we helped launch last week. 


Statement on ‘Seaspiracy’ Film [Published Wednesday, Mar. 24]

Plastic Pollution Coalition is a project of Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)3, non-profit organization, organized and existing under the laws of California. In the new Netflix film ‘Seaspiracy,’ Plastic Pollution Coalition and other conservation and environmental organizations are misrepresented as businesses funded by the commercial fishing industry. 

Plastic Pollution Coalition is not funded by Earth Island Institute or working with other projects of Earth Island Institute to support the commercial fishing industry. Plastic Pollution Coalition has a small but mighty staff supporting a growing global alliance of more than 1,200 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in 75 countries working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals, waterways, oceans, and the environment. Learn more about Plastic Pollution Coalition. 

Plastic pollutes at every stage of its existence, from extraction, use, and disposal. Plastic Pollution Coalition members who are focused on ocean plastic pollution and in particular, stopping pollution from fishing nets and “ghost gear” include: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Greenpeace

We welcome any questions you may have to help address your concerns. You may reach us at editor@plasticpollutioncoalition.org.

Read the statement from the International Marine Mammal Project.