TAMPA — Ninety percent of the trash found in our oceans is plastics, which is why Hillsborough County is reintroducing their campaign, Reduce Your Use.
“The goal of the campaign really is to increase awareness among the public and businesses about the impact single-use items have on our local environment,” said Hillsborough County Recycling Coordinator Travis Barnes.
So far 2,000 individuals and 22 businesses have gone to the website, ReduceYourUseTampaBay.org, and made the pledge.
“There’s a variety of options that people can take in their daily lives, whether they skip the straw, or use a reusable grocery bag when they go shopping or reusable water bottle,” said Barnes.
The Florida Aquarium wasted no time joining the fight. Scientists estimate at the current rate there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, in weight, by the year 2050.
“Sometimes it can seem really daunting on all the things we are told every day on what we need to do to help protect this planet, but the reality is all of us can take little steps in our daily lives and make choices every day that can make a big impact,” said Debborah Luke, Senior VP of Conservation for The Florida Aquarium.
The Florida Aquarium makes all its trash and recycling bins out of recycled materials. They also have water bottle filling stations, encouraging people to drink from reusable containers, not plastic bottles.
“So everything we do here at The Florida Aquarium is made to help those animals in the wild and the animals in our care and we can tell that story to the people who come in and visit us and they too can see why it’s important to take similar actions,” said Luke.
The aquarium takes pride in leading by example, they see species threatened every day and know it’s completely avoidable.
“I think humans are the biggest threat to the animals but also humans are the answer to those threats,” said Luke.