SeaWorld announced today it is getting rid of all single-use plastic straws and shopping bags from its theme parks.
Orlando's SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove were listed among the participating parks, as well as Busch Gardens in Tampa. This new policy will apply to all 12 of SeaWorld's theme parks.
"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," said interim chief executive officer for SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. John Riley in a press release
The park says it is committed to other environmentally-friendly investments like renewable energy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
The announcement comes on World Oceans Day and as recent studies have shown the damaging impact of plastic on the oceans and wildlife. According to The Ocean Conservancy, an estimated 150 million metric tons of plastic circulate the planet's waters, not taking into account the eight million metric tons more that add to it every year. Scientists have estimated that the amount of plastic in oceans will triple in a decade
SeaWorld Orlando manager of rescue operations Jon Peterson said, "We've seen first-hand the horrific damage that plastic pollution causes to animals. [...] In fact, just this week, we performed surgery on a rescued sea turtle who became ill from ingesting plastic and other ocean debris."
Back in April
, Disney Store, not the theme parks, announced they would phase out plastic bags and begin offering guests reusable bags at all U.S. stores.
Getting rid of plastic drinking straws has been a common topic of conversation lately, as people start to question their use of plastic at businesses such as Starbucks and their branded green plastic straws.
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