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According to Plasticoceans.org, we produce about 300 million tons of plastic a year and more than 8 million tons of that plastic is dumped straight into the ocean every year. The biggest usage of plastic is plastic bags and have a working span of 15 minutes. “According to Container Recycling Institute, 100.7 billion plastic beverage bottles were sold in the U.S. in 2014, or 315 bottles per person. 57% of those units were plastic water bottles: 57.3 billion sold in 2014. This is up from 3.8 billion plastic water bottles sold in 1996” (Plasticoceans.org).
Why should you care about how much plastic goes in the ocean? To start, marine plants produce 70% of the oxygen we breathe. Do you like seafood? The smaller animals, even bigger animals eat the plastic, then the bigger animals eat the smaller animals, then we eat those bigger animals, therefore we are eating plastic from the ocean. According to animalsaustralia.org, 100,000 animals die a year becasue of plastic. Whether it be from eating it or getting tangled in it, unable to escape. “Chemicals such as pesticides, lead and other heavy metals found in polluted water can contaminate water supplies and food chains through the marine life are affected: hormonal problems, reproductive problems, nervous system damaged, kidney damage, etc” (Plasticoceans.org).
What can you do to help?
· Educate yourself; Plasticoceans.org has many more facts, pictures and statistics on how ocean pollution affects humans, the causes and how it can affect you. If you want an even better picture, watch A Plastic Ocean on Netflix.
· Don’t use plastic straws – 550 million get tossed everyday in the US and UK
· Don’t use plastic bottles – 500 million get used everyday worldwide
· Use reusable bags at stores – 1 trillion get thrown away every year worldwide
· Use cloth diapers – 27.4 billion disposable diapers get tossed every year in the US
· Don’t use disposable razors – 2 billion get discarded every year in the US
· Don’t chew gum – synthetic rubber is plastic and 100,000 tons get thrown away every year world wide
· Don’t use face wash with micro beads – in one tube of face wash there is over 300,000 micro beads – they don’t break down like you think they might
Even by doing one of these steps you can make a change! As savingthewaves.org says, “Don’t wait for the change, BE the change.”
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Isa Engelke needs your help with “Everyone: Less plastic”. Join Isa and 133 supporters today.