COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Non-profit works to keep plastic out of the ocean
Plastic Ocean Projects works to clear the ocean of plastic debris
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - From restaurants to retail shops, you’ll find plastic — lots of it. From bottles to straws, Americans love plastic.
“We use about 500 million plastic straws a day,” Lisa Andree said.
Andree is the communications director for Plastic Ocean Project, a non-profit organization with a mission to clear the ocean of plastic debris. The organization operates a lab off College Rd. where samples from waterways are sent for testing. What researchers often discover are tiny pieces of plastic that marine life such as whales end up digesting.
The North Atlantic Right Whale is the most endangered whale in the world. Saving them was the inspiration behind a documentary Plastic Ocean Project is producing now. It will debut in June 2023 to coincide with World Ocean Day, which is June 8.
While filming in 2020, the production crew discovered a reason to create another short film that will be called 3-5-6.
“There was news that there was a brand new baby whale — a calf,” Andree said. “It was just a day or two old and NOAA tracks these whales and numbers them. And this whale was number 356. So the film crew was up in Beaufort. It was a beautiful, perfect day. And instead, they got a call from a scientist that the baby was found washed up on a spoil island.”
Andree says since whale number 356 in 2020, the number of endangered species is now down to 326.
“So we’re losing them rapidly and we could very likely see the extinction of that species in our lifetime.”
The non-profit, which was founded by Bonnie Monteleone, operates through donations. The organization recently got the attention of Jack Johnson, a world-renowned musician. Through Saturday, Oct. 15, Johnson will match all donations made to Plastic Ocean Project.
If you would like to make a donation, click here.
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