Stop Plastic Pollution from Killing Coral Reefs

Target: Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Goal: Encourage G7 members to drastically curb plastic waste that is causing the death of coral reefs.

Fish and birds are commonly thought of as the animals that suffer the greatest from plastic pollution in our oceans, however there are other animals—most unseen—that are suffering as well. Coral reefs around the world that experience pollution from water bottles, food containers, straws, toys, and other forms of plastic are being injured and dying, according to a new study published in the journal Science. Researchers from Cornell University found that there was a strong relationship between plastic pollution and disease and death of coral reefs in Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia. In normal environmental conditions, about 4% of corals suffer from disease. It was found that a staggering 89% of corals in plastic-polluted areas suffer from disease. According to The Atlantic, researchers theorize that this correlation is a result of plastic covering coral, blocking sunlight, and allowing diseases that thrive in shaded areas to spread. Sharp pieces of plastic can also stab and wound corals, allowing bacterial infections to occur. The pieces of plastic themselves could be carrying the bacteria that infect corals.

Globally, about 380 million metric tons of plastic are created annually. About eight million metric tons end up in the ocean each year. The United Nations recently drafted a resolution that would push countries to prevent plastic from entering the oceans. Canada has announced intentions to spearhead the campaign encouraging other countries to drastically curb plastic waste. Sign this petition to urge Justin Trudeau to encourage G7 members to drastically curb plastic waste that is causing the death of coral reefs.


Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Coral reefs around the world, which provide homes to a wide range of species, are suffering because of plastic waste. The plastic that ends up in the ocean covers coral, prevents sunlight from reaching reefs, and ultimately allows diseases that thrive in shady conditions to wreak havoc on the oceans’ reefs. Furthermore, the plastic can stab coral and create wounds that allow bacterial infections to spread. In normal conditions, only 4% of corals suffer from disease, but as soon as plastic pollution is encountered, that figure jumps to a staggering 89%.

Each year, eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans around the world. Canada has announced its intentions to lead the charge in reducing plastic waste that ends up in the ocean and causes the death of coral reefs. I urge you to take the lead and encourage other G7 countries to create policies and practices that will result in less plastic waste in the ocean.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Magalhães

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