EPA Formalizes Local-Federal Partnership to Protect Mississippi River Communities from Plastic Pollution
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe joined more than 40 mayors from the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI) to affirm the Agency’s commitment to working collaboratively with local communities along the Mississippi River to address pollution and other shared environmental challenges. During the organization’s 10th annual meeting, EPA and MRCTI announced a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that formalizes their local-federal partnership to tackle plastic pollution in the Mississippi River through community-driven efforts.
“The EPA is excited to partner with MRCTI to protect communities within the Mississippi River corridor, including those that are vulnerable, underserved, and overburdened by environmental challenges,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “We are all upstream of somebody. This partnership is a first of its kind, spanning multiple regions, to sustainably manage waste and prevent and reduce plastic pollution in the mighty Mississippi River. Investing in communities to make them cleaner, healthier, stronger, equitable, and more economically competitive is one of our most important objectives at EPA.”
The MOU will bring EPA together with state and local governments, communities, businesses, and concerned residents to identify collective actions that prevent plastic pollution and improve the environment and public health. Up to 80 percent of the plastic in oceans originates from land-based sources, and up to 40 percent of the plastic pollution entering the Gulf of Mexico originates from the Mississippi River. This plastic material breaks down over time into tiny pieces that can be consumed by fish and other wildlife. MRCTI brings researchers, mayors, the federal government, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and others together to advance the collective understanding of environmental challenges such as plastic pollution, nutrient pollution, disaster resiliency, and climate change.
EPA will support the UN Environment Program in its partnership with MRCTI and key partners’ Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative to study the state of plastic pollution along the Mississippi. This will include expansion from existing and planned pilot cities — in Baton Rouge, La., St. Louis, Mo., St. Paul, Minn., Memphis, Tenn. and the Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill. — to additional communities along the Mississippi River. The agency’s participation will help boost best practices, lessons learned, and methodologies for on-the-ground efforts to reduce plastic pollution that could be replicated in other domestic and international contexts.
About the MRCTI
Since 2012, Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative has been promoting economic and environmental security and stability along the Mississippi River Corridor. There are 124 Mississippi River main stem cities and towns. These riparian population centers are soundly River-centric. MRCTI gives a common voice to those who depend most upon the River, and by virtue of doing so, spans political and economic interests. Visit: https://www.mrcti.org/
Learn more about specific plastics data: https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/plastics-material-specific-data, and information about
EPA’s Trash Free Waters program: https://www.epa.gov/trash-free-waters.
Read the MOU: