Action Timeline

August 22, 2012 – The Center submitted a petition asking the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate plastics as a pollutant under the Clean Water Act.

December 11, 2012 – The Center petitioned the EPA to designate the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands — including the portion of the enormous Pacific Garbage Patch within U.S. waters — as the nation's newest Superfund site.

November 6, 2013 Responding to our August 2012 petition, the EPA said it would take steps to cut plastic pollution in oceans, improve monitoring and conduct a scientific review of the human-health effects of eating fish that have ingested plastics and other pollution.

November 18, 2013   In response to our December 2012 petition, the EPA agreed to take a historic first step toward classifying a tiny Hawaiian coral island, Tern Island, as a Superfund site because of hazards posed by plastic pollution. 

September 9, 2014  The Environmental Protection Agency released an assessment documenting the hazard that plastic pollution poses to wildlife on Tern Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands — a key finding that could advance Tern Island as a potential Superfund site, an area of toxic hazard singled out for federal cleanup.

December 11, 2014 A new study revealed that the world's ocean is awash in 5 trillion pieces of plastic — from tiny beads and toys to shopping bags and bottles — weighing more than 250,000 tons. One of the researchers said it's the equivalent of two-liter plastic bottles stacked end-to-end in a column that stretches to the moon and back twice.

Banner photo by Wouter de Bruijn/Flickr