Lawmakers Pledge to Reduce River Pollution
When you live and work near the ocean like we do, we sometimes forget about the majestic rivers and lakes that enamor scores of other Americans from coast to coast.
But how could anyone forget that superstar of stage and screen – Old Man River himself, the mighty Mississippi River? Surely not the mayors and residents of the towns that border the chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent.
But, like most large bodies of water, the Mississippi River, which meanders some 2,350 miles through the center of the continental United States to the Gulf of Mexico, is under siege from plastic pollution.
Help may be on the way.
According to The Times-Picayune, dozens of politicians from Mississippi River cities are calling for a major reduction of the waste that finds its way into the river —and they’re pledging to reduce the amount of plastics by 20 percent over the next two years.
Louisiana gets the brunt of the ugly and deadly floating mess because the state sits at the base of the river.
A 2017 Louisiana State University study determined the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most plastic-polluted bodies of water on the planet. Much of the waste is believed to flow from the Mississippi.
"Plastics don't break down," St. Gabriel Mayor Lionel Johnson said. "They simply become smaller and eventually turn into a dangerous confetti."
Johnson is one of three Louisiana mayors to endorse the initiative.
Meanwhile, mayors from a growing number of other states are also pledging to reduce plastic pollution in the Mississippi River by 20% by 2020.
A number of companies are also joining the wave of support.
Happy Joe’s pizza chain is rethinking its packaging and other non-food products.
“We’re looking from our straws to our silverware, to these million little plastic inserts that we put in our pizza boxes,” said marketing director Kristel Ersan. “We’re reviewing it all.”
However, Mississippi State Representative Abe Hudson recently noted that 80% of the plastic pollution comes from inland sources.
“Plastic pollution is a global issue,” he said. “It is our hope that we can identify local solutions.”
A recent count shows that more than two dozen mayors – from Minnesota to Louisiana – are swimming against the tide and working together to increase education and awareness.
We here at COAST Apparel salute the teamwork that is targeting this growing menace to humans, animals and the environment.