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Group Asks EPA To Curb Ocean Pollution

by Glenn Hess
September 3, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 36

Credit: Shutterstock
Photo of plastic pollution washed up on shore.
Credit: Shutterstock

The Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned EPA to take steps under the Clean Water Act to curb plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. “Plastics are an everyday convenience for us but a daily death sentence for seabirds, seals, sea turtles, and hundreds of other ocean species,” says Emily Jeffers, an attorney with the Tucson-based conservation group. “Our oceans are littered with grocery bags, drink lids, water bottles, and candy wrappers. It’s time for EPA to step in and finally address this crisis.” The petition, filed on Aug. 22, asks EPA to develop national water quality criteria to set a zero limit on visible plastic pollution in oceans and strict limits on small plastic items. Under the Clean Water Act, states must adopt water quality standards recommended by EPA and identify waters that do not attain those standards. “This isn’t rocket science: If we want healthy sea life, we need to keep garbage out of our oceans,” Jeffers says. “We can make it happen, but it’s got to become a national priority. We’re hoping this petition will jump-start the process.”


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