Merkley, Whitehouse Introduce Resolution Designating July as Plastic Pollution Action Month

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley teamed up with U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today to introduce a resolution designating this month as Plastic Pollution Action Month, citing extreme concern over the plastic pollution crisis that is threatening human health, dumping tens of millions of pieces of plastic in the ocean, and killing hundreds of thousands of animals every year.

The resolution details the dangers to human health and environment posed by plastic pollution, and encourages all individuals in the United States to protect, conserve, and maintain the environment by taking steps to reduce their plastic pollution, this month and beyond.

“For years, Americans have been taught the three R’s—reduce, reuse, and recycle—and that as long as we put our plastic items into blue bins, we could protect our environment,” said Merkley, who serves as the Chair of the Environment and Public Works subcommittee overseeing environmental justice and chemical safety. “The truth is, it’s more like the three B’s—plastic is buried, burned, or borne out to sea—which means dangerous chemicals are seeping into our air, water, and soil and threatening Americans’ health, especially in communities of color and low-income communities. We can’t keep sitting on our hands in the face of this crisis. Congress should pass this resolution to emphasize the urgency of the problem, and then come together to deliver the solutions to this crisis that our families and our planet deserve.”

“Single-use plastics are filling the oceans at an alarming rate, endangering marine life and winding up in the human food supply,” said Whitehouse, who co-founded the bipartisan Senate Oceans Caucus to find common ground in responding to issues facing the oceans and coasts.  “The Save Our Seas laws I wrote with Senators Sullivan and Menendez go a long way toward addressing the worldwide marine debris and plastic pollution crisis.  This month, we’re recommitting to building on that progress and tackling the global scourge of plastic waste.”

The senators’ resolution follows the introduction of the bicameral Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act—legislation led in the Senate by Merkley that offers the most comprehensive plan ever introduced in Congress to address the plastic pollution crisis that is poisoning our air, water, and land.

Full text of the resolution is available here.