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SeaWorld removes single-use plastic bags, straws from theme parks

Dangers our oceans are facing

ORLANDO, Fla. -- SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., has removed all single-use plastic drinking straws and shopping bags from its theme parks in an effort to "protect animals and habitats worldwide," the company announced in a news release Friday. The decision came on World Oceans Day.

The release noted that Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, estimates that eight million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean each year, in addition to the estimated 150 million metric tons across the word.    

"This milestone environmental achievement is a testament to our mission to protect the environment, the ocean and the animals we share our planet with, which are currently threatened by unprecedented amounts of plastic pollution," SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.'s interim CEO, John Reilly, said in a statement.

The park said the decision includes SeaWorld and Aquatica parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego.

Several companies have recently announced plans to phase out use of plastic bags and straws, including McDonald's stores in the U.K. and Swedish furniture maker Ikea.

SeaWorld unveils its new Orca Encounter show in San Diego
SeaWorld unveils its new Orca Encounter show in San Diego, California, on May 31, 2017. Mike Blake / REUTERS