Boca Raton, Fla. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today joined Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to announce the new U.S Federal Strategy for Addressing the Global Issues of Marine Litter. The new initiative, which was announced at Florida Atlantic University, aims to address sources of marine litter by supporting research and development, promoting marine litter removal, incentivizing recycling and taking on a larger international leadership role.

“It’s scary to think about how much waste – especially plastic – is polluting our environment. Ocean plastics are destroying ecosystems, killing marine life and littering our beaches,” Rep. Mast said. “This is a problem that is only going to get worse until we come together to do something about it. Together with the help of the EPA and other agencies, I’m confident that we can get serious about removing pollution from our environment and preventing it from getting there in the first place. The health of our waterways depends on it.”

Rep. Mast has made addressing ocean plastics a top priority. Earlier this year, he introduced the MICRO Plastics Act, which would create a pilot program to test new, innovative ways to remove microplastics and prevent them from entering our waterways. Rep. Mast also helped pass the Save Our Seas Act 2.0 – which he cosponsored – to prevent, reduce and remove the staggering amount of plastic in the ocean earlier this month. This legislation improves domestic cleanup efforts, incentivizes international engagement on the issue and strengthens domestic infrastructure to responsibly dispose waste materials. The bill also furthers the efforts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assess, prevent, reduce and remove marine debris.

“Every year an estimated 11 to 28 billion pounds of waste ends up in our oceans, harming marine life and coastal economies,” EPA Administrator Wheeler said. “Marine litter is a top priority for the Trump Administration, and we are taking action to address this important global challenge in our shared oceans.”

You can read the full strategy here.