Document Type

Article

Abstract

Plastic pollution in the ocean is a global concern with more than 8 million tons of plastic dumped into our oceans every year. This policy paper assesses plastic pollution in Narragansett Bay and the negative implications it holds on local seabird populations. Also, essential background information on plastic production and throwaway culture is provided. Moreover, the biological significance of seabirds is described, highlighting the vital role such populations play in local ecosystems such as Narragansett Bay. This paper contributes research to the global issue of plastic pollution by observing declining native wildlife life populations, such as seabirds, on a local scale in Narragansett Bay. Furthermore, domestic policy is examined in relation to plastic production and wildlife conservation. This paper examines the effects of the Rhode Island Task Force to Tackle Plastics, which focuses on the mitigation of single-use plastics in Rhode Island to preserve ecological integrity. In addition, The Narragansett Bay Estuary program is evaluated to ensure the productivity of scientific research that contributes to the restoration and preservation of Narragansett Bay. Lastly, the final policy scrutinized includes the Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan that is utilized to analyze the quality of native habitats and the overall ecological health of Rhode Island. Scholarly articles, relevant research, and other secondary sources are further examined in tandem with previous knowledge of conservation biology in order to contribute to these findings. As a result, final recommendations are provided, calling for additional regulations and policy adoptions that aid in environmental efforts on a domestic scale. Some recommendations include initiating a statewide ban of single-use plastics, development of financial incentives that promote sustainable efforts, and instituting better waste management systems.

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