TAMPA, Fla. — Environment Florida is calling for a statewide ban on foam cups and takeout containers as part of their commitment to protect our oceans from pollution.
“Polystyrene foam--known as Styrofoam to many of us--is one of the most common, harmful and unnecessary forms of plastic,” said Sarah Harness who grew up in Central Florida. “Because plastic takes centuries to break down, every to-go cup or takeout container we’ve ever used is polluting the earth. I’m walking our neighborhoods this summer to not only educate people about this critical problem, but also to encourage them to act. That’s the fun and rewarding part.”
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Annually, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic ways flows through Florida waterways, according to the Jambeck Research Group. The plastic breaks down into smaller pieces, leading wildlife to mistake it for food. The pieces have been found in varying ecosystems, according to Environment Florida. From alpine lakes to deep ocean trenches.
In April, a rare deep-water dolphin ended up stranded on a Florida beach. It was later euthanized and was found to have a stomach full of trash.
Biologists found two plastic bags and a shredded balloon. Nearly a month later, another dolphin was found dead with a stomach full of plastic.
This time scientists found a two-foot long plastic shower hose inside the animal.
“Nothing we use for five minutes should pollute our environment and put species at risk for hundreds of years. Banning polystyrene foam take-out containers is one of the most simple and effective ways to reduce our plastic pollution,” said Jenna Stevens, campaign organizer with Environment Florida.