Imagine you are going with a group of friends to go camping and as you are overlooking the beautiful scenery you spot a bright colored object. Upon closer inspection you realize that it is a plastic bag that has been brushed into the bushes that were left from the campers before. Yet it may not harm us directly in the shortcoming however it does affect the other life around including our wildlife. Just the simple action of us throwing our plastics can lead to a chain reaction of events that can cause so much damage . How can a simple bag of delicious treat or a statement that can simply go like “ it just a straw? It’s just a little bag” cause so much harm. However it doesn’t have to be all rain and gloom because there are a variety of different actions we can all take to improve our lives and the lifes around us to be sustainable. So in the future your children and their children will be able to enjoy the outdoors just as you did. Now to truly understand the problem at hand we have to take a deeper look into our plastic pollution and the effects it has on our wildlife.
Pollution according to national geographic means “Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants.”(National Geographic Society 2012) Yet not only can this be caused by humans but it can even come from natural occurrences on earth. However the main issue doesn’t focus on the natural aspect but the plastic that fills our parks, oceans and rivers. Just to put it into better terms nat geo also states that “there is a patch in the pasific ocean that is called the great pacific garbage patch which is a collection of plastics the size of Texas”(National Geographic Society 2012). So as we go throughout our day to day activities we get blind sided by the fact that our convenience is the animals suffering. As humans we can only see the issue from our perspective and never truly take in account what the marine life goes through and the effects it has in our waters.
The ocean is the home for these animals yet this home has no way of keeping itself clean and healthy. So when marine life go looking for food they find what is available as plastic and other items to them looks like a next meal but don’t know the consequences of it. One article states that “Fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals can become entangled in or ingest plastic debris, causing suffocation, starvation, and drowning”(Plastic Pollution Affects Sea Life Throughout the Ocean). So that tasty treat that you ate may be good for you but the result of simply not placing it in the trash can end up as a deadly meal to the marine life. Now that we have seen what it can do to our wildlife and the effects of pollution itself there are simple things we can do even at the comfort our homes to contribute in the fight against pollution.
With long days of school and work the last thing you would want to worry about is where or not your trash was placed right in the bins. These are some quick on the go solutions that are cost efficient and help better or the world. The EPA or the United States Environmental Program says that “instead of us using disposable plastic wear we should just use the reusable silverware we have for our lunches and other activities ”(EPA pollution prevention tips). How amazing is it that not only will you be saving money in your pocket but you are potentially saving a marine animals life. This could also apply to reusable bags as well just those alone are saving you a few bucks. In addition another easy and profitable solution to our plastic you can do at home is recycle your plastic bottle and cans. Once you have collected a fair amount of plastic bottle you can go to your local recycling center to turn that plastic into cash for yourself. It is yet again a win win all around when we recycle we help to reuse materials which prevent it from going into our water system and you get extra side income. So the next time you see a plastic bottle or a can laying in the street of where anywhere you go just think it’s free money and I’m contributing to a cleaner planet.
Our next step in helping to decrease plastic pollution in our oceans is to support our organizations who are going head on to tackle the issue. Organizations like WWF help in a variety of ways from conversation, protection of our oceans to protecting certain animals species. WWF’s take of plastic pollution is outstanding taking calls of action to the government, companies as well as the public. For the public it states that “Use your power as consumers and call on industries to demonstrate leadership through reducing dependency on single-use and unnecessary plastics while investing in environmentally sound alternatives”(WWF pollution Threats). Simply put , we as consumers have a voice and opinion that could potentially change the world and organizations like WWF are there to support. WWF also accepts donations so the few dollars you saved from reducing plastics can go an even longer way buy donations to our organization who are at the forefront of this issue.
Last but not least is to join the clean up and volunteer at an organization to better witness the problem at hand. Each one of these solutions help to all provide a cleaner ocean but gathering a group of like minded individuals with create a huge impact on its own . It no longer becomes a boring chore when you have family and friends as well as a community who supports you making it that much more fun . In addition to hanging with friends you are directly taking action in helping clean our ocean and you will be able to witness you and others also directly fighting this problem. One organization is called ocean conservation. org it says “Every year during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, hundreds of thousands of volunteers comb lakes, rivers and beaches around the world for trash”(Brauner, et al. 2020) On the website it gives you an actual search bar so you can look up local ocean clean up groups that are near you. They also have links to other problems the ocean is facing that you could also sign up to take actions.
Our tomorrow depends on what we do now to create a better future for all living creatures on these planets. So no matter if you are at home walking down the street or even looking for a hobby to pass by time there is always action we can take to instill a better future.
Brauner, Emily, et al. “Ocean Conservancy.” Ocean Conservancy, 7 Feb. 2020, oceanconservancy.org/.
“Plastic Pollution Affects Sea Life Throughout the Ocean.” The Pew Charitable Trusts, www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2018/09/24/plastic-pollution-affects-sea-life-throughout-the-ocean.
“Pollution Prevention Tips at Home.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 18 Dec. 2017, www.epa.gov/p2week/pollution-prevention-tips-home.
“Pollution.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/threats/pollution.
National Geographic Society. “Pollution.” National Geographic Society, 9 Oct. 2012, www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/pollution/.