Press Room

Audubon New York Commends New York State Proposal to Ban Polystyrene Packaging

Some birds consume plastics because it looks like prey. We must take action to reduce pollution in our oceans and waterways.

Albany, NY (December 17, 2019) – As part of his 2020 State of the State, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has unveiled a proposed ban on styrofoam single-use food containers and packing materials. Plastics have become an abundant pollutant in our oceans and pose a major threat to marine and coastal wildlife—seabirds in particular.

“Birds are facing unprecedented threats. We can make a difference, but we must act now to help birds thrive. Decreasing our reliance on single-use plastic will help reduce the amount of pollution in our oceans and waterways, helping to prevent accidental ingestion by coastal and marine birds. We are pleased that the Governor has proposed this nation-leading ban on polystyrene packaging and thank him for his leadership on this important issue,” said Ana Paula Tavares, executive director of Audubon New York.

Scientists estimate that by the year 2050, 99 percent of all pelagic birds will have consumed plastic at some point in their lives. Some birds consume plastics because it looks like prey, and others fail to avoid microplastics when feeding since plastic has become so abundant. Plastic-packed birds often have little food in their stomachs, suggesting that they stop eating when the materials remain undigested. 

On average, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year due to littering, illegal dumping, and poor waste management on land and at sea. This ban will help to reduce the amount of plastic that is littering our beaches and marine waters. 

For more information on birds and plastic pollution: https://ny.audubon.org/birds-0birdsways-help/sustainable-swaps-keep-beaches-clean