Waving Goodbye to Plastic Pollution

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“In a cringe-inducing video that's gone viral, a team of scientists spent nearly ten minutes pulling a plastic straw from the nostril of an Olive Ripley sea turtle” (Lee [2]). In this horrifying video, many have realized how bad plastic pollution has become in the oceans. The future needs clean oceans. As more and more industries use plastic, there will be more and more of it in the ocean and more and more creatures, like the turtle, will suffer for it. “Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year for use in a wide variety of applications. At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, and make up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. Marine species ingest or are entangled by plastic debris, which causes severe injuries and deaths” (“Marine Plastics” [2-3]). The Plastic is intoxicating the oceans. This turtle and all the other marine creatures need help to save the ocean.

Plastic pollution is spreading and spreading and is making what an article called “Marine Plastic Pollution” calls a “plastic soup.” Being an ocean creature and having to swim around dangerous plastics all of the time is not the best life. It is not just marine animals that are having problems, but also countless marine birds. “Our plastic addiction and waste mismanagement is condemning countless marine birds and animals to death by entanglement or poisoning, and even leading to chemical contamination of the fish we eat” (“Marine Plastic Pollution” [2]). If that is not enough, it can affect humans. Author Gianna Andrews writes in her article, “Plastics in the Ocean Affecting Human Health”, “Different plastics spread throughout the ocean. As styrofoam breaks into smaller parts, polystyrene components in it sink lower in the ocean, so that the pollutant spreads throughout the sea column. In fact, not only do the toxins in plastic affect the ocean, but acting like sponges, they soak up other toxins from outside sources before entering the ocean. As these chemicals are ingested by animals in the ocean, this is not good for humans. We as humans ingest contaminated fish and mammals” ([3]). Humankind needs to have no more plastic in the ocean just as much as the animals in the ocean. If people will not do it for the animals, why not for the rest of humankind.

Many pieces of plastic enter the ocean each day, but just how does the plastic actually get into these waters? Author Joe McCarthy writes in his article, “What You Need to Know About the Global Epidemic of Ocean Plastic Pollution”, “Plastic enters the oceans in three main ways — direct dumping, indirect dumping, and leakage — that all have one overarching similarity: dysfunctional waste management systems. Direct plastic pollution happens when a boat or garbage truck dumps plastic straight into the ocean as a way to dispose of it” ([2]). Also, that plastic entering the world’s ocean costs loads of money each year. “The plastic pollution that end up in the Earth's oceans is costing world governments as much as $2.5 trillion a year” (Ranosa [1]). This money could be contributing to other necessary resources that the economy needs, but it is all being spent on cleaning up plastic because of careless littering. People need to think about the money that could be saved by the simple acts of using a garbage can or recycling bin to dispense of garbage. Littering is like dropping a dollar down the sewer.

Many are trying to solve plastic pollution problems, some of which work and some of which that do not. At least the ones that fail are at least trying to solve the problem. Believe it or not more recycling will not solve plastic pollution. “Recycling plastic is to saving the Earth what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper. You struggle to find a place to do it and feel pleased when you succeed. But your effort is wholly inadequate and distracts from the real problem of why the building is collapsing in the first place. The real problem is that single-use plastic—the very idea of producing plastic items like grocery bags, which we use for an average of 12 minutes but can persist in the environment for half a millennium—is an incredibly reckless abuse of technology” (Wilkins [2]). Another failed solution is ocean cleanups. In an article called, “Upset about the Plastic Crisis? Stop Trying So Hard”, the author Royal Geyer states, “The best known of them, The Ocean Cleanup, last year launched a 2,000 ft-long boom, made of plastic, to gather plastic in the North Pacific Gyre. Unfortunately, the boom didn’t work, broke apart and had to be towed back onshore. Even if the world also somehow figured out how to vacuum plastics from the ocean floor, these technologies would not stop new plastic from constantly entering the oceans” ([4]). All these attempts to solve the plastic pollution issue has narrowed down so many solutions that could work and it is time to put these solutions to use.

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So, from the solutions that have failed, there have been solutions developed upon these failed attempts that actually would work. It is time to put these solutions to use. As demonstrated in the following quote, it does not always have to be an extravagant solution: “The cheapest and most effective solution to ocean plastic is strangely also the one that is least talked about. It is this: making and using less plastic.” (Geyer [4]) Saving the ocean does not have to be rocket science, it is as simple as limiting the amount of plastic we use in everyday stuff. Another way in contributing to stopping plastic pollution is spreading the word. An article called “7 Ways to Reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution Today” by Brian Hutchinson says, “Stay informed on issues related to plastic pollution and help make others aware of the problem.” Combining these two solutions and beginning to spread the news, that simply reducing the amount of plastic in the world; could save our ocean. As more people spread this ultimate solution, less plastic will be used and oceans will be saved. The good people of the world will contribute to this mission, but education is key.

Educating people about using less plastic, and the positive effects it has on the ocean, could potentially contribute to plastic being used less. Optimally, less plastic being produced, would naturally lead to less plastic in our oceans. There are already schools teaching how to eliminate single-use plastic. “The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has urged headteachers in England to consider using sustainable alternatives instead of non-recyclable plastic for items such as straws, bottles, bags and food packaging. Hinds said teachers should ensure pupils were aware of the damage that discarded plastics could do to the environment and wildlife” (Sparrow [2-3]). Teaching people at a young age will encourage them to teaching other generations. Educating the garbage truck companies would be a great help too. “Direct plastic pollution happens when a boat or garbage truck dumps plastic straight into the ocean as a way to dispose of it. Fortunately, countries have largely agreed to stop getting rid of plastic in this way, but over the years the practice has led to millions of tons of waste” (McCarthy [9]). Even adults and companies need educated on what is hurting the environment. Through education and making people aware of the situation, the plastic pollution in the ocean may be eliminated.

Putting this education into effect through learning seminars would most likely make an impact in the prohibition of plastic in the oceans. There are already many education programs in place making a difference, one being “Plastic Oceans.” “Our education program includes a comprehensive film, which is fully supported by scientific review, and an educational supplement that emphasizes key facts from the film and suggests a number of activities to stimulate creative ways to start rethinking plastic” (Andersen [3]). Another education program is called “Debris Free Oceans.” “Thinking holistically, Debris Free Oceans teaches pre-kindergarteners through adults how to practice the “5 Rs” of reduce, reuse, recycle, recapture, and redesign, specifically focusing on “reduce” (“Marine Debris Education” [1]). Joining one of these education programs and spreading the word could contribute to the health of the ocean. It is time to teach the way to a plastic free ocean.

Plastic Pollution has impacted, the health of animals, humans, and the oceans. By informing and educating people of this issue, the ocean can become a lot cleaner. Spread the education of plastic pollution as the waves deliver plastic to the sea. Future generations need clean waters as much we need them, which means this change needs to occur. “It’s only one straw,” said 8 billion people”( Nini [4]). One piece of plastic turns to one, then turns to two, until is spreads out of control. It is necessary that this 8 billion tons of plastic found in the ocean every year, turns into 7 billion and then 6 billion until there isn’t any pollution in the ocean The future needs these pollution numbers to go down and without help, those people will be swimming in plastic.. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has” (Mead [6]). Now is the time to create a clean future for the future and inspire countless others to do the same. The future is counting on present day society to clean these polluted waters and restore them to what they once were. This hardwork will all be worth while when, the ocean is once again that stunning aquamarine blue and and the sands will be as soft as powdered sugar.

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Waving Goodbye to Plastic Pollution. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/waving-goodbye-to-plastic-pollution/
“Waving Goodbye to Plastic Pollution.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/waving-goodbye-to-plastic-pollution/
Waving Goodbye to Plastic Pollution. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/waving-goodbye-to-plastic-pollution/> [Accessed 20 Apr. 2024].
Waving Goodbye to Plastic Pollution [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/waving-goodbye-to-plastic-pollution/
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