7/18/2011: Aquarium of the Bay Launches Perils of Plastic Initiative

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Aquarium of the Bay Launches “Perils of Plastics” Initiative
 
San Francisco, CA, July 18, 2011 -- Today, Aquarium of the Bay launched a multi-prong effort to address the “Perils of Plastics,” through a new temporary exhibition as well as major organizational changes to combat the global issue.  
 
The Aquarium’s effort includes: 
  • A temporary multi-media exhibition entitled “The Perils of Plastics” which combines whimsical features with hard-hitting facts and a strong do-it-yourself element to raise awareness and personal action
  • The removal of all plastic drinking bottles from retail areas of the 60,000 square foot facility that sees up to 600,000 visitors a year
  • The installation of a state-of-the-art water filling station, where people can fill up their reusable bottles.  The station features a digital screen, which calculates the number of plastic bottles saved – since installing the station on July 9, Aquarium visitors have saved over 800 plastic bottles.
  • Naturalist-led demonstrations and discussions to help provide ideas on how and why to use plastics carefully, including Albatross bolus dissections
  • A voluntary “Plastics Pledge,” encouraging visitors to pick up one piece of plastic each day
 “Plastics make up 90% of all trash floating in the world’s oceans, and two million plastic drink bottles are consumed in the U.S. every five minutes,” said John Frawley, President and CEO of Aquarium of the Bay and its partner, The Bay Institute.  “This exhibition underscores the need to manage plastics more aggressively at every level.”
 
“We show the gruesome effects of plastic on wildlife, but also stress simple ways we can keep plastic out of our ocean,” said Christina J. Slager, Director of Animal Care and Exhibits. “I really like ‘Mr. Fluffy,’” said Slager, gesturing towards a troll-sized sculpture made of hundreds of white shopping bags. “The exhibit is made from simple components that could easily be recreated for children,” she said, watching a young visitor make a water ‘gyre’ inside an hourglass made out of two soda bottles.   The interactive display mimics the currents that create the Pacific plastics gyre, a floating mass of plastic garbage larger than the state of Texas.
 
The exhibit will be on display at the Aquarium through September 5, 2011.
 
About Aquarium of the Bay
Aquarium of the Bay is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit marine nature center affiliated with The Bay Institute.  The Aquarium is dedicated to inspiring conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed, from the Sierra to the sea. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and certified as a Green Business by the city of San Francisco. Additional information on Aquarium of the Bay is available at www.aquariumofthebay.org, and on The Bay Institute at www.bay.org.

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