St. Louis Zoo urging visitors to give up plastic -

St. Louis Zoo urging visitors to give up plastic

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS ( -- Saving an ocean from St. Louis may not seem possible, but on Friday’s World Oceans Day, the St. Louis Zoo is reminding residents there is something simple they can do.

You might be able to tell the difference between these plastic bags and jellyfish, but turtles can't. For each family that makes the switch to reusable bags, 1,500 plastic bags stay out of the environment.  

Zoo visitor Maleki Chamness is learning the impact a single plastic bag can have.

“Sometimes animals might go after the plastic bag instead of the jellyfish, which is not good for them, and it might kill them,” he said.

Chamness was one of many who took the pledge to say bye to bags, and only use reusables.

Pledgers all received a new reusable bag. It's part of the zoo's push to educate people on the massive amounts of plastic in our oceans that animals end up eating or getting tangled in.

“We really care about ocean animals, both here at the zoo and in the wild,” said Lisa Lidgus, conservation education liaison at the zoo.  “So it really became a priority for us to reach out to all our visitors to let them know just how much we care and how they can help care for ocean animals too.”

While plastic bags are still available in the zoo's gift shop, shoppers are encouraged to use reusables, whether they bring their own or buy one on site. If visitors don't ask for plastic, they are given a token to place in a box, visually illustrating their decision as well as how many bags have been kept out of the environment.

Another station at the zoo was devoted to asking visitors to give up using plastic straws.  

“Scientists have been noticing that plastic straws are being found all around in the oceans, and it’s something that the Midwest contributes to,” said education liaison Keri Lammerint. “So it’s an easy thing that kids and adults can do to do their part to help animals in the oceans.”

The zoo now only uses reusable straws in souvenir cups and kid cups, and has no plastic tops.

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