Recognising the detrimental effect of high levels of plastic waste in our oceans and the wider environment, members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) have committed to do what they can to address this major environmental concern. At the Association’s annual conference and AGM, BIAZA’s members signed a pledge to reduce the levels of plastic being used on their premises and to encourage staff and visitors to commit to reducing single-use plastic in their everyday lives.
BIAZA’s CEO Dr Kirsten Pullen said: “Our zoos and aquariums are in a unique position whereby they can inspire their visitors to care about the natural world around them as well as educate them on measures they can take to protect our environment. The unanimous vote to adopt the BIAZA Plastic Pledge clearly demonstrates our members’ commitment to address the devastating effect plastic is already having on our planet’s fragile ecosystems. Many of our members have already taken big steps forward by ceasing the sale of single-use plastic water bottles and creating instillations to educate their visitors about plastic waste.”
Plastics enter the ocean from a variety of sources on land and at sea and can be transported long distances on ocean currents to reach even remote areas, far from major human settlements. This plastic waste can affect wildlife through physical impacts such as entanglement, ingestion, and alteration of habitat as well as potential chemical impacts. An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastics enters the oceans from land based sources every year and this is expected to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025.
BIAZA and BIAZA members’ pledge:
- to work to reduce wherever possible the level of plastic within their sites in a manner that is appropriate for their location and situation
- to work with members of the public to increase awareness of the situation surrounding the level of plastic in our environment and contribute to positive behaviour change to reduce those levels
- to work with their staff to increase awareness of the situation and contribute to positive behaviour change to reduce levels of plastic
BIAZA is the professional body for 116 zoos and aquariums across the UK and Ireland. With over 30 million visits to our members on an annual basis, BIAZA and its members provide a unique resource in contributing to awareness-raising and behaviour change.
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