WASHINGTON — The Senate voted unanimously today to ratify an international treaty banning ships from discharging all forms of plastic garbage polluting the world's seas and beaches.
Sen. John H. Chafee (D-R.I.), a former secretary of the Navy, said the amount of plastic products being discharged from ships at sea is overwhelming. "We've created an international garbage pit, floating on the seas of the world," he said.
The treaty has been ratified by 28 other nations, including the Soviet Union, but was not effective without being approved by enough nations to account for more than 50% of the world's merchant shipping.
With the ratification by the United States, the 50% level is reached and the ban goes into effect in one year.