The Story of Plastic Panel Discussion with Waterkeepers

On May 21, 2020 Waterkeepers Chesapeake hosted a virtual film screening and panel discussion on the new documentary, The Story of Plastic.

During this unprecedented pandemic, it’s critical to ensure the voices of activists and marginalized communities are heard to stand up to big oil and businesses perpetuating the plastic crisis. Stories and film have a unique ability to bridge divides and bring us together as part of something bigger than ourselves – to connect us and create empathy during perilous times. We hope The Story of Stuff’s new film The Story of Plastic served as a tool to foster connection, spark dialogue, and create action. 

We had four incredible panelists who are involved in the plastic crisis on a daily basis. 

Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Ted Evgeniadis joined us to talk about plastics issues he was involved with in Pennsylvania, and showed the audience how much plastic ends up in our rivers. He spoke on how large factories affect our waterways, and encouraged everyone to take legislative action to stop further plastic pollution. 

James Riverkeeper Jamie Brunkow joined to talk about plastics issues he was involved with in Virginia, and he mentioned a few pollution programs through the James River Association including the RiverRats program and the Tireless James program. 

Anacostia Riverkeeper Trey Sherard joined the discussion with information from Washington, D.C. He spoke about how the Anacostia River has a Trash TMDL and explained trash initiatives in the DC area, including trash traps, tax on plastic bags, and volunteer events, to address the river’s trash problem.

Trash Free Assateague Program Coordinator Billy Weiland joined us from the Assateague Coastal Trust with great information on plastic issues on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Billy spoke about citizen science opportunities and the Trash Free Assateague program. 

We were joined by nearly 100 people who came prepared with many intriguing questions and were passionate about keeping our waterways clean. 

If you missed the conversation, you can view the recording of the panel discussion here. 

Be sure to follow us on social media where we’ll continue to post updates about plastics legislation and the great work that our Waterkeepers are doing!

We thank MOM’s Organic Market for their generous sponsorship of this event!

Plastic Pollution Resources:

James River Association’s River Rats Program

Trash Free Assateague

Baltimore’s Bag Ban

Plastic Legislation Tracking in Virginia

Plastic Bans in Pennsylvania

Litter Free Virginia 

Break Free from Plastic Act of 2020 (HB5845)
https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5845
https://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/federal-break-free-from-plastic-pollution-act-introduced
https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/break-free-from-plastic-pollution-act-summary

Surfrider
https://www.surfrider.org/campaigns?theme=plastic-pollution
https://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/single-use-plastic-bags-during-covid-19

Break Free from Plastic: https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org

Oceana https://oceana.org/our-campaigns/plastics

Story of Plastic: https://www.storyofplastic.org/take-action