The Oceans Need Our Help

In today's world, it’s the sad truth that plastic has touched most, if not all, parts of this Earth. Our oceans have felt the impact of plastic waste used throughout the world to an extreme degree. From massive fishing nets being dropped to the bottom of the sea to plastic straws breaking down on the sea surface, the effect of plastic has taken a huge toll on marine wildlife and ocean ecosystems.

We often overlook the inevitable effects that single use plastic has when choosing to use a plastic straw or to drink out of a plastic bottle. We constantly try to convince ourselves that one straw won't make a difference, when in reality we have the power to completely alter the habit of single use plastic.  As we continue to use plastic and not dispose of it correctly, more and more plastic begins to flow into the oceans and affect everything in its path. Plastic will catch onto coral and break it, destroying coral reefs and making them inhabitable. Also, it is often is mistaken for food which animals will then ingest and die. The ocean conservatory says “plastic has been found in more than 60% of all seabirds and in 100% of sea turtles species, that mistake plastic for food.” This continues to spread throughout the marine food chain, affecting plankton to the largest whales. Even if we tried to remove every piece of plastic from our seas, microplastics would still pollute the oceans making it impossible to completely clean.

Some people have the attitude that they won't be able to make a difference, and some people simply don’t care. But the preservation of our ocean ecosystems is something that every person should strive and push for. Small changes can lead to large results over time. If you’re looking for a way to help clean and protect our oceans from plastic pollution, here are some ideas:

 

  • Recycle. It's as simple as that. Recycling is available to almost everyone and it takes little to no effort to recycle your plastics. All you need to do is throw it in a different garbage can, and you have prevented that water bottle from reaching our oceans.

 

  • Switch out plastic straws for paper or reusable strawsfruit smoothie in glass with metal straw They are equally if not better to use. Or, you can just not use a straw at all, they aren't that necessary to everyone.

 

  • Avoid plastic pre-packaged items

farmers maket

When shopping for produce or any other goods, look for items not pre-packaged in plastic. These items have so much unnecessary plastic that serves no purpose. To go a little further, shop for produce at local farmers markets to support local businesses and to practice sustainability.

 

  • Support organizations that specialize in ocean cleanup.

trash on beachThese organizations do incredible work and deserve our appreciation and support. The Ocean Conservancy is one of my favorite organizations to find information or to donate to.

 

Humans and society are the only things to blame when it comes to the pollution of our oceans, and we are the only people who can help. This Earth Day, although most of us are trapped at home, get outside and try to collect some of the garbage in your neighborhood. By doing this, you will help prevent the garbage from reaching the oceans. Or, invest in a reusable water bottle to cut down on your plastic use. Either way, this Earth Day can be a turning point for many people to end the use of single use plastics, and to lead the way to a cleaner and healthier ocean.

 

Emily Santosuosso

 

 

 

Edited by Cati Januzzi