DENVER (KDVR) – Headed for a National Park? Pretty soon you’ll have to enjoy it without certain kinds of plastics.
Rocky Mountain National Park, along with every other National Park in the country, will ban single-use plastics over the next decade.
The top director at Ocean Conservancy told FOX31 how pollution, mainly from those single-use plastics used here in Colorado, could end up in our oceans.
“Colorado is home to some of the treasured places in our natural environment,” Nick Mallos, senior director of trash-free seas with Ocean Conservancy, said.
Single-use plastic, think water bottles, flatware, straws and any other item you’ll only use a single time are found in stores and unfortunately in nature.
“From the deepest trenches to the highest mountain peaks and everywhere in between,” Mallos said, “since 1986, volunteers with Ocean Conservancy’s international coastal clean-up, have removed more than 130 million pieces of these single-use plastic products from beaches and waterways across the United States.”
That staggering number only applies to their group, the Department of the Interior announced a ten-year plan to ban all single-use plastic from National Parks.
An action in the high country that takes a toll at sea level
This plan, Mallos said, could relieve parks of pollution not to mention put a dent in the more than 14 million tons of plastics that end up in the ocean.
“Rivers, lakes, these bodies of water typically flow and connect, it’s a dynamic network and the ocean is often the final pathway,” Mallos said.
“That food wrapper, that bottle, that may accidentally get littered in a national park, on a street can find its way into a storm drain or into a river and flow south if you’re in Colorado, and ultimately find its way into the Gulf of Mexico and out into the open ocean,” Mallos said.
Why is this a ten-year plan, Mallos said, there are strategies that need to be applied in the short-term to see if they’ll work over time.
If they don’t work in the short term, Mallos said, that ten-year plan gives conservationists and the Department of the Interior a chance to adjust them for future success.