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I watched A Plastic Ocean on Netflix. Watching this documentary further informed me about just how big the ocean plastic problem is, and how it affects the environment, marine life, and humans. I found the film very eye-opening. Seeing the beautiful whales at the beginning of the film and then seeing a whale die from malnourishment due to plastic made me realize that many of the other whales shown would probably die in the same manner; slowly and painfully. As a vegetarian, I thought I helped fight against animal cruelty, but by using plastic that gets ingested by marine life, I am actually contributing to it.

I found it interesting how much plastic can be found in sea animals. Watching researchers cut open the stomachs of fish and seeing more plastic than food was hard to watch. I always thought that if plastic was ingested it would pass through as waste, but not even microplastics can be broken down. I thought the amount of plastic found in birds’ stomachs was especially shocking. They are not really marine animals, yet they suffer just as much as fish when it comes to ingesting plastic. Given the amount of plastic found in fish sold for consumption, I believe there should be a warning label on the packaging telling consumers what exactly they are eating: fish and plastics.

The documentary also showed the intense amounts of waste found in the Philippines; a huge garbage pile I didn’t even know existed. Not only does this waste find its way to the ocean, but people in the area are forced to live in unsanitary conditions. This example was perfect for showing how much the plastic in the ocean issue affects humanity’s quality of life. Many of the people living in this area die of lung problems, but due to their socioeconomic status, they cannot afford to leave. These are humanitarian issues that few seem to be focusing on and I think that this is a major problem. If people do not care about how plastic affects the ocean, then they should at least be concerned about how it affects the lives of humans.

I did find it touching, however, that when the people of Hong Kong found out about the ocean plastic problem in their area, they rallied and everyone attempted to clean up their ocean. Some countries, such as Germany, are also creating places that offer money for recyclables, pushing people to make changes.   

I think our major problem is a lack of awareness. Many people are ignorant of these issues and therefore only further contribute to the problems as they mindlessly use and throw away plastics. Overall, I found this documentary to be very informative, and it has had a major impact on the way I think of and use plastic. A Plastic Ocean is a must watch.


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