U.S. landfills are drowning in an ocean of waste. While mismanagement of waste is harmful to the environment as a whole, it poses a particular threat to marine life. Plastic pollution ends up in the stomachs of innocent sea creatures and chemical contaminants are destroying the habitat of countless other organisms.
With approximately 1.7 billion visitors each year, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, generates an enormous amount of waste — more than 82 tons in 2019 alone. Southern California’s largest aquarium strives to inspire a shift towards sustainable waste solutions starting with their own facility in Long Beach. Our practicum group will develop a sustainable waste management plan for the Aquarium. We aim to collect information on the types of waste it generates, how that waste is currently managed and what can be done to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. In alignment with the Aquarium’s interest in education and outreach, we also intend to explore the development of the Aquarium’s own community organic waste program, which all Long Beach residents can be a part of. Our goal is to create a program that inspires families to get involved in sustainability and become more aware of the ways they can reduce their own waste.
Student Team: Anna Jaffe, Annalise Eder, Crystal Chacon, Desiree Felix, Elizabeth
Ignacio, Joyce Lee, Melissa Perrin, Ronald Thompson III
Client: Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach
Advisor: Dr. Peter Kareiva