Work Begins to Help Protect the Largest Freshwater System in the World

June 2, 2020 – MALIBU, Calif., U.S.A. –  Plastic Oceans International, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to ending plastic pollution and fostering sustainable communities, today announced that it has joined the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.  

Founded in 2004, the coalition works with conservation leaders in states around the Great Lakes region of the United States to advance their goal to secure federal funding to restore and protect the lakes.

“I’m happy to welcome Plastic Oceans to the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition,” said Laura Rubin, Director of the Coalition. “Their plastic pollution expertise, in both marine and freshwater environments, is a welcome addition to our knowledge base and the collective efforts of over 160 NGOs working to protect and restore the Great Lakes.”

The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system in the world, containing 94,600 square miles of surface water – which is 20% of all that our planet contains and 90% of what is found in the U.S. The lakes are a major economic driver to numerous communities in the U.S. and Canada, serving as a tourist attraction, shipping route, and energy source, in addition to being the primary water supply for over 40 million people. Over 22 million pounds of plastic pollution ends up in the lakes each year, but that’s just one of the many problems they face, most of which negatively affect human health

“We see the coalition’s work as invaluable to our expanded mission of protecting and advocating for all water sources of the world,” said Julie Andersen, CEO of Plastic Oceans International. “Human activity is having a negative impact on more than just our oceans, so turning part of our focus on freshwater systems, like the Great Lakes, is an important component to achieving our ongoing mission.”   

Pictured Rocks National Seashore on Lake Superior

Beautiful seacave sunset on Lake Superior, at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Plastic Oceans International is currently working on a film about the Great Lakes system, and is developing a series of projects within the region that they will initiate once the pandemic has passed. These include youth education, research, advocacy and activism programs.

About Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition

Since 2004, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has been harnessing the collective power of more than 160 groups representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. The coalition is a leading voice for Great Lakes restoration and protection in Washington, D.C., and in the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

About Plastic Oceans International

Plastic Oceans International is a global nonprofit organization, based in the U.S., that is dedicated to solving plastic pollution and fostering sustainable communities. It aims to change consumer behavior, corporate practice and public policy, with the goal of creating solutions that lead to a healthier planet and society. Plastic Oceans informs, inspires and incites action to affect change with constructive films and digital content, complemented by advocacy, scientific research, education and awareness initiatives. More than 350 million tons of plastic are produced annually and increasing, yet more than 90% of all plastic is not recycled. At least 10 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year – equal to more than a garbage truck per minute. Science proves plastic pollutes the air, water and food chain, threatening human health, wildlife and the planet. 


Tod Hardin
Chief Operations Officer, Plastic Oceans International
(408) 656-3570