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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s latest gallery exhibit can learn about a problem affecting the world’s oceans: plastic pollution.

trash on beach
Trash lines the beach at sunrise. Many plastics end up in landfills or the environment and take hundreds of years to decompose. ©Sebastian Kennerknecht

The “Save our Oceans from Plastic” exhibit offers an up-close look at life under the sea, featuring 12 images from renowned nature photographers illustrating the beauty of oceans and marine life as well as the threat that plastic pollution poses to their health.

“As a research and education institution, it’s important we provide visitors ways to make a positive difference in our planet’s future,” said Florida Museum exhibit developer Tina Choe.

Visitors will be able to learn how they can take action against single-use plastics at a pledge station, such as choosing reusable bags and taking part in stream clean-ups. Pledges can be made by scanning a QR code and will be displayed on a monitor along with other commitments made by guests.

The exhibit was made in collaboration with Gabby Salazar, a doctoral student at the University of Florida’s School of Forest, Fisheries & Geomatics Sciences, as part of her environmental communication research.

“During the pandemic, it has become necessary to increase our use of plastics to promote safety. I think it’s important to consider where all these plastics are going and how we can reduce their impact on natural environments, including our oceans,” Salazar said. “I hope that people who visit the exhibit will be amazed by the wonder of the oceans and will discover ways that they can help conserve and protect marine life.”

For more information, visit www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/exhibits/ocean-plastics.

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Writer: Nikhil Srinivasan, 352-273-2034, nsrinivasan@floridamuseum.ufl.edu
Sources: Tina Choe, tchoe@floridamuseum.ufl.edu; Gabby Salazar, gabriellesalazar@ufl.edu
Media contact: Kaitlin Gardiner, kgardiner@floridamuseum.ufl.edu