BY MOLLY VINCENT, GUEST STUDENT BLOGGER
June 8 marks the 14th annual World Oceans Day celebration. And everyone can get involved with these simple games, crafts, and clean-up activities from The Ocean Project!
One way to honor our ocean is by keeping the coasts clean. Plastic pollution is a huge threat to ocean animals, as they often mistake plastic goods for food. As a result, they can choke and die because of the hazardous material. And the problem doesn't end with animals. Chemicals in plastic consumed by fish can travel through the food chain and land in human bodies.
According to Plastic Ahoy: Investigating The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, scientists found plastic in nearly one out of ten fish. Fish in the middle depths of the North Pacific eat approximately 12 to 24 thousand tons of plastic each year. Unfortunately, 80% of the plastic comes from land, especially from litter. And U.S. businesses and government spend a total of $11.5 billion dollars on keeping the coasts clean by picking up litter.
Simple changes to your habits can benefit the oceans:
- Keep the coasts clean by not littering or cleaning up trash in or around the water.
- Limit the amount of plastic that you purchase and used in the first place.
- Replace plastic with more permanent products. For example, use metal washable utensils instead of plastic ones. Purchase reusable water bottles and refill them instead of purchasing plastic bottles that can end up where they shouldn't. Plastic, Ahoy! talks about similar strategies to reduce plastic waste.
- Carry washable storage containers to restaurants for leftovers. And use other washable utensils such as non-plastic mugs.
- Collect empty soda cans, plastic bottles, and glass bottles. Take them to the recycling center for a nice payday.
The Better Bag Challenge, which asks people to stop using plastic bags for a full year. Reuse cloth bags and cut down on plastic ones. Click the link to make your own pledge!
Making small changes to the way you use plastic greatly benefits the ocean. Refuse and rethink plastic before it hits the water.