Did you know, humans everyday waste tons of plastic that end up harming the ocean animals? We see many cases where marine life is ending up dead on the shores of the beach and comes to find out that it was because they ingested so much plastic. It is inevitable to these sea creatures that they are mistaking their own food source and eating up the millions of tons of our plastic dumped into their habitat. Us humans are not taking care of our marine life or care about the consequences of our everyday plastic use. It is causing millions of deaths to these marine animals that will only increase their death rate over the next few years. If we don’t do anything about plastic waste we will continue to kill and eventually put some of our ocean animals at risk for extinction. The best way we can help save the ocean is to reduce plastic waste.
Plastic is a part of our everyday lives such as; water bottles, straws, bags, plastic utensils, etc. We are accustomed of using plastic that we don’t realize where it will eventually wind up. For instance, most of our kitchen home waste is plastic thrown in the trash, which will then be dumped into our waters. According to Stevens, “one recent study suggests as much as 8 million metric tons (8.8 million short tons) of plastic wound up in the ocean in 2010 alone.” Us, as humans, can change the way we do things in our daily lives to make the world a better place, by simply using alternatives for plastic.
One way to reduce plastic waste is to eliminate the everyday use of plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are convenient for transportation and storing in small places but the waste builds up over time. Not only does plastic bottles make excessive waste it can also be harmful to consume the water. Plastic contains hazardous chemicals that will eventually contaminate the water you drink every day. For example, polyethylene is a plastic made from chemicals that have been produced from oil and natural gas. Many water bottles are used for outdoor activities but after the bottles are laid out side in the sun or car for many hours the chemicals in the plastic will start dissolving into the water. We do not see the harmful causes until years on when it will affect our health. Therefore, instead of buying water bottles that cause harm in ourselves and the earth’s ocean, you can use stainless steel bottles that are reusable (hydro flasks)
Secondly, have you ever realized how much plastic is used in local groceries store? For example, as stated by Stevens, “In 2012, 288 million metric tons (317.5 million short tons) of plastic were produced worldwide. Since then, that amount has only grown.” It is completely unnecessary to use plastic just for one use that is going to end up in the trash. “A major portion of plastic produced each year is used to make disposable items of packaging or other short-lived products that are discarded within a year of manufacture” (pg 2115). Purchasing a reusable bag will help you save ten cents every time you go shopping and it well help the environment. We should use paper bags that are made with recycled paper. Also, plastic bags lead to depletion of our natural resources. It takes millions of oil to produce plastic bags that the U.S. uses per year.
Since there are millions of tons of plastic waste covering our oceans many ocean animals are mistaking plastic for food. Once plastic is heated with the UV rays of the sun it breaks down into micro plastic (small plastic only seen under a microscope). As Galloway mentions, “microplastic is ingested by filter, suspension and detritus feeders living in the water column and bottom sediments, and has been found in the guts of invertebrates, fish, turtles and other larger animals, including species intended for human consumption or those playing critical ecological roles”. Over 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean.
Overall pushing ourselves to make these changes will not only inspire many to do the same, but will significantly impact our ocean creature’s life span. Therefore, making the ocean waters a cleaner environment, increases the ability to sustain a healthier life all around. Many have lived not knowing how much harm they have caused throughout their lives, it’s at this time where we need to spread the news, these changes are a simple price to pay to strength the earths cores for the sake of our future generations.
Stevens, Alison Pearce. “Tiny Plastic, Big Problem.” Science News for Students, 16 June 2015, www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/tiny-plastic-big-problem.
Hopewell, Jefferson, et al. “Plastics Recycling: Challenges and Opportunities.” Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, vol. 364, no. 1526, 2009, pp. 2115–2126. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40485985.
Galloway, Tamara S, et al. “Interactions of Microplastic Debris throughout the Marine Ecosystem.” Nature.com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org, 20 Apr. 2017, www.nature.com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/articles/s41559-017-0116.
“Information About Sea Turtles: Threats from Marine Debris – Sea Turtle Conservancy.” Sea Turtle Conservancy, conserveturtles.org/information-sea-turtles-threats-marine-debris/.
Walia, Arjun. “New Study Finds 88 Percent of Earth’s Ocean Surface Now Polluted With Plastic Trash.” Collective Evolution, 7 July 2014, http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/07/07/new-study-finds-88-percent-of-earths-ocean-surface-now-polluted-with-plastic-trash/.