Oct. 12 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Thursday signed legislation aimed at expanding clean-up efforts in the world’s oceans.
The Save Our Seas Act, which passed the House and Senate with bispartisan support in July, reassures funding to clean-up marine debris via funding through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program.
The bill also calls on the State Department to get international cooperation for clean-up efforts. According to the Ocean Conservancy, more than half of the estimated eight million metric tons of plastic littering the world’s oceans come from a handful of developing countries in southeast Asia.
“This waste, trash, and debris harms not only marine life, but also fishermen, coastal economies along America’s vast stretches. The bad news is it floats toward us,” Trump said before signing the legislation. ” I’ve seen pictures recently, and some of you have seen them, where there’s — a vast, tremendous, unthinkable amount of garbage is floating right into our coast, in particular along the West Coast.”
Trump called out China and Japan as being two of the countries that are responsible for large amounts of debris in the oceans.
“It’s incredible when you look at it,” Trump said. “People don’t realize it, but all the time we’re being inundated by debris from other countries.”
Kevin Allexon, senior manager of government relations at the Ocean Conservancy told Courthouse News that the bill is a “modest but critical tool in the fight against ocean trash.”
“By reauthorizing the NOAA’S marine debris program, the law supports research on and solutions to this growing problem. By urging the State Department to engage their counterparts around the world, [it] recognizes the global nature of marine debris, which spares no country or coastline,” he said. “We are grateful for the bipartisan effort here — another reminder that our ocean is for everyone to enjoy and care for.”