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We all need to do our part in keeping plastic out of the oceans

Madeleine Sydkvist, Staff Writer

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You might imagine what beauty lies beneath the surface while gazing at the waves crashing onto the beach, but the truth is that our oceans are turning into a landfill.

It’s not news that plastic has taken over our world.

Personally, I’ve tried to live without consuming plastic several times, but have not yet succeeded because the convenience of it always gets me. I don’t consider myself alone in this matter.

With all of the options to decrease the use of plastic, there is no excuse not to start today. Small acts can lead to great results.

Last year I went scuba diving in South Africa and I realized that even if I don’t personally experience the destruction that plastic waste creates, it’s still happening.

The marine life depending on the ocean’s ecosystem is suffering. Seeing the once brightly colorful corals bleaching as a consequence of climate change and plastic waste was astonishing.

A report from  National Public Radio claimed the likelihood of diseases increases from four percent to 89 percent when corals come into contact with plastic.

The corals are not the only living creature affected, though. Hundreds of other species are choking on items like plastic bags and straws, and 115 marine species in the US are impacted by entanglement in plastic waste.

Each year, at least eight million tons of plastic enters the ocean, and most of it is single-use products like mugs, water bottles, and more plastic bags. In fact, about 40 percent of plastic is only used once before it’s thrown away. Californians alone are responsible for 123 thousand tons of plastic waste each year.

Why is it that, despite all of the facts and numbers we have about how our use and throwaway lifestyle is killing living creatures in the sea, we continue to consume and produce plastic daily?

Sure, it is incredibly convenient but it’s equally unsustainable.  

Small acts in our day to day life can make a big difference in the long run, if we all participate.

Just by bringing our own bag every time you grocery shop, an individual can save up to 96 plastic bags in one year.

Bring your own mug to the cafeteria, refill your water bottle and please, say no to straws.

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We all need to do our part in keeping plastic out of the oceans