Dear Secretary Haaland,
We strongly request that you direct the National Park Service to eliminate the sale and distribution of single-use plastics in our national parks. Eliminating single-use plastics will reduce plastic pollution and save money for parks, visitors, and park partners, while also advancing the Biden administration’s goals for addressing environmental justice and the climate crisis.
Each year, millions of people flock to our national parks to enjoy the beauty of nature and learn about history and culture. Unfortunately, these special places are being marred by single-use plastic. The very same unsightly plastic trash that impairs visitor experiences is harmful to wildlife and ecosystems and costs Park Service staff and volunteers considerable time and expense to collect and haul it to landfills.
Plastic is harmful to communities, the climate and the ocean. An estimated 33 billion pounds of plastic enter the ocean worldwide every year. Plastic production facilities, incinerators, and landfills are often located in communities of color and low-income communities, where they pollute residents’ air, water, and soil. Most plastics are made from petrochemicals derived from fossil fuels, and if plastic were a country, it would be the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Plastic pollution has no place in America’s treasured national parks. We are asking for the elimination of the sale and distribution of single-use plastic beverage bottles, plastic bags, disposable plastic foodware — including cups, plates, bowls, and utensils — and plastic-foam products in national parks.
We must protect our national parks from plastic pollution if we hope to share these special places with generations to come.