On Wednesday, July 25, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Save Our Seas Act in a voice vote, paving the way for the bill to become law and thereby reauthorizing the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program through FY2022 at the longstanding level of $10 million annually. Kevin Allexon, Senior Manager of Government Relations at Ocean Conservancy, released the following statement in response:
In passing the Save Our Seas Act, Congress has taken a modest but important step forward in addressing the growing, global threat of ocean plastic. It’s also an unmistakable recognition of the work that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program does to combat it.
We are especially pleased that the Act calls on the Administration to engage the State Department in addressing the marine debris problem globally. Science shows that more than half of the estimated eight million metric tons of plastic that enter the ocean every year from land comes from a handful of developing countries in southeast Asia, where economic growth has outpaced waste management systems; and because we know that trash—and plastic in particular—can travel thousands of miles across ocean currents, we simply cannot solve the marine debris crisis alone.
“We look forward to seeing the bill signed into law by the President so that NOAA and U.S. diplomats can continue working for healthy, trash free seas for all Americans to enjoy.”