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The Biden administration on Wednesday announced actions in recognition of World Oceans Day, including reducing and phasing out the sale of single-use plastic products in national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.
In a fact sheet, the White House wrote that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland would issue Secretary’s Order 3407, which aims to reduce the procurement, sale and distribution of single-use plastic products and packaging, including plastic and polystyrene food and beverage containers, bottles, straws, and more.
It also has a goal of phasing out single-use plastic products on Department-managed lands within the next decade.
“The Order is part of the implementation of President Biden’s Executive Order 14057, which calls for Federal agencies to minimize waste and support markets for recycled products,” the administration said. “The Order also directs the Department to identify nonhazardous, environmentally preferable alternatives to single-use plastic products, such as compostable or biodegradable materials, or 100% recycled materials, in an effort to reduce the more than 14 million tons of plastic ending up in the ocean every year.”
In a separate release, the Department of the Interior explained that the order also directs the department to identify nonhazardous, environmentally preferable alternatives to single-use plastic products.
It noted that less than 10% of plastic that has ever been produced has been recycled, with plastics “devastating fish and wildlife around the world.”
“The Interior Department has an obligation to play a leading role in reducing the impact of plastic waste on our ecosystems and our climate. As the steward of the nation’s public lands, including national parks and national wildlife refuges, and as the agency responsible for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, we are uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth,” Haaland said in a statement. “Today’s Order will ensure that the Department’s sustainability plans include bold action on phasing out single-use plastic products as we seek to protect our natural environment and the communities around them.”
The department noted that plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments and that plastic pollution threatens food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism and contributes to climate change.
The move was one of the multiple acts listed, including initiating the designation process for a new national marine sanctuary to conserve Hudson Canyon in the Atlantic Ocean and the launch of efforts to create America’s first-ever Ocean Climate Action Plan.
The White House noted that federal agencies will be making additional announcements that “showcase the scale and pace of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ocean agenda” throughout the month.
It also highlighted a recent report issued last week that found carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are now more than 50% higher than pre-industrial levels.
Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find her on Twitter at @JuliaElenaMusto.