The Fulton County Commission voted unanimously today to stop the use of single use plastics in Fulton County owned, operated and leased buildings and facilities.
The world’s addiction to plastic is a growing problem, responsible for country-sized swirling gyres of plastic waste in our oceans and expanding landfills in our country’s interior. This pollution is damaging our ecosystems and endangering public health. Every day, Americans throw away an estimated 300 million single-use plastic bags. Less than five percent of those bags are recycled. Like all plastics, they don’t biodegrade but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces. As they do so, any toxic additives they contain—including flame retardants, antimicrobials and plasticizers—are released into the environment. Often, these pieces are swept into our waterways, ending up in our oceans and lakes.
Scientists have found plastic fragments in hundreds of species, including 86% of sea turtle species and nearly half of all seabird and marine mammal species, and ingesting these fragments is often fatal. In humans, it is estimated that seafood eaters consume up to 11,000 microplastic particles every year.
Jennette Gayer, Environment Georgia’s Executive Director, testified in favor of the Resolution and offered the following statement:
“Fulton County just took a historical step to reduce plastic waste by becoming the first county in Georgia to ban single-use plastics in Fulton Co. facilities. Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing issues facing Georgia’s rivers, oceans, and wildlife. Single-use plastics inevitably end up in our waterways and on our beaches, damaging our ecosystems and endangering public health.
Nothing we use for 10 minutes should be allowed to pollute our environment for hundreds of years. This bill follows the lead of other cities and states across the country and makes Fulton Co. a real leader in Georgia.
Georgia’s precious natural areas and wildlife have been threatened for too long by single-use plastics, and we are thrilled that Fulton County is starting to respond to this threat.”
Environment Georgia is a non-profit that works statewide to protect Georgia’s air, water and green spaces. www.EnvironmentGeorgia.org