Concerning Issue Of Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans

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Imagine yourself living in a place where you can’t escape from plastic, and its chemical structure, living in a place where you’re now forced to eat plastic because that’s all that’s surrounds you. Well, that’s exactly how countless marine species are living their lives from the deepest parts of the ocean to even above sea level. The contamination of plastic has a direct and lethal effect on these creatures like seabirds, sea turtles, seals, and other marine species. They are being killed after consuming plastic and/or getting tangled in the plastic itself. There’s always been a universal problem with plastic, it’s been talked about a lot recently. It doesn’t seem like there has been much change happening, but some smaller businesses are slowly incorporating more eco friendly technologies. Some ways to fix the ocean pollution problem are by going green at fast food restaurants, reducing the use of plastic at grocery stores, and learning how to recycle correctly.

The first step to reducing plastic in the oceans is by going green at fast food restaurants. Restaurants are mainly using plastic products, because plastic is a cheaper, insubstantial, strong, and it can be easier to produce for its ability to mold into any structure. Therefor the first step to making restaurants greener, is by replacing all plastic products to biodegradable plastic. By using biodegradable plastic, it breaks down the material quickly once exposed to the elements, thus helping the environment. Another form of replacing plastic would be to use more paper products. For example, many restaurants have switched to using paper straws, because once they’re exposed to liquid it begins to dissolves. The second step to making fast food restaurants greener is by adding dual disposal bins that clearly distinguish the difference between trash and recycle. These are bins are being seen a lot more nowadays, they display the symbols for trash and recycle making it easier and more convenient for customers. This ensures that consumers will recycle correctly. The third step is to start using paper takeout bags or reusable bags instead of plastic takeout bags, by using paper takeout bags it helps the ocean by one plastic bag at a time.

In order to reduce plastic in the ocean, we need to reduce the use of plastic in our grocery stores. The first step that needs to be taken is to start reducing the use of plastic at grocery stores, “Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture” (Center for Biological Diversity). Just imagine if grocery stores started handing out reusable bags, the number of plastic bags that grocery store use in a year would go down a large amount. If these same grocery stores started handing out reusable bags on earth day, if a customer spent a certain price at that store, it can help the process of saving the environment. If reusable bags were handed out, after receiving these reusable bags, then customers can start bringing in their own bag the next time they need to go grocery shopping. Also, if we started using paper bags instead of plastic there could be less plastic in the ocean, therefor saving the oceans one plastic item at a time. Customers should start buying their own reusable produce bags, instead of using the plastic ones that grocery stores have in stores for you, I know it sounds strange on buying your own produce bags instead of using the free ones that are provided, but just imagine what how many marine lives you’re saving. If people started buying certain items in bulk, customers could bring in their own reusable glass containers to put their products in. Also, when shopping for groceries you should start looking for items that are in glass or paper containers, as well as looking for items that are not covered in plastic wrappings. These are just some of the major ways to reduce the use of plastic in grocery stores.

Another way to reduce plastic in the marine life is that we need to reduce the use of plastic in our day to day lives. Another way to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean is to start recycling properly. Most people think that they’re recycling correctly, but in actionality “just 9% of plastic is recycled worldwide” (Brian Hutchinson). We can start by learning what can and what can’t be recycled. Let’s start by what can be recycled; metal, paper, glass, plastic, and electronics batteries. By recycling all these items, you can help conserve a lot of different things by recycling correctly. For example, by recycling metal you are helping conserve energy, for the paper you can help save trees, by recycling glass they are able to reuse it, by recycling the plastic you are helping the marina wildlife. Now, these are some items that aren’t allowed to be recycled, anything that is a danger to recycling machines, for exampl shredded paper, plastic grocery bags, broken glass. You also can’t recycle anything dirty like plastic cups covered in food, used paper towels, used plate/ cups, and food covered cardboard. By knowing this information, it helps just learning one day at a time, on how to recycle can help this plant a lot including the marine life.

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While some might argue that plastic bags aren’t as bad for the environment than we are led to believe, but what about the rest of the plastic that’s already out in the oceans. It’s not just plastic bags that are out there in the ocean, it’s so much more than that. It’s the products that are made from plastic that isn’t being recycled correctly, it’s the plastic that’s isn’t being picked up along the shore, the trash bags that fly into the ocean because they aren’t being picked up. These are just some items that are doing greater damage than expected. Teaching the next generation is going to be harder than we’ll expect because today this generation is having a lot of trouble recycling correctly. They’re still a lot that needs to be taught to actually help get rid of plastic in the ocean. As mentioned on Vocativ:

A closer examination of EPA numbers shows that the actual weight of these plastic bags is astronomical. Approximately 3.37 million tons of plastic bags, snacks and wraps were discarded in the municipal wastes stream in 2012 alone. That’s the weight of 450,00 elephants in plastic nags alone wasted on the earth.

Some might say that the damage is done when it comes to plastic pollution in the oceans. It’s true, the damage is done, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t put in the effort to help clean up the mess that we made thought out the years. Most people know how plastic affects the plant and yet, people still haven’t done much to make a big difference. At the rate of plastic production, is going at, “There could be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050” (the Ellen MacArthur Foundation). After really thinking about how it can affect the future generation more, do you think that you can help make a difference? Plastic pollution is started by humans and it will be ended by humans. If you spread the word, to help join the movement

We need to move forward with the solution to help stop the pollution of plastic in the ocean if we want to make a difference, we need to make a difference. But if we don’t try to help our oceans it will affect our generation and every generation after ours, we are the only thing standing the way to help this plant, the plant we call home. We mass produce plastic worldwide because it’s a cheaper material and a lot easier to produce than other materials. But because it’s so easy to produce is destroying our plant a lot faster.   

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