When we rip open a snack bar, bag of chips, or cup of yogurt, we all know not to eat the
plastic packaging. Our bodies cannot digest the plastic, and the chemicals released
from the plastic can be harmful to our health. However, even if we do not directly eat
plastic, scientists are finding that our plastic scraps may end up inside our bodies
anyways, and we are the ones at fault.
Think seafood. Humans eat seafood, and seafood eats plastic. Every year, 8 million
metric tons of plastic enters our ocean. That is comparable to dumping two garbage
trucks full of plastic into the ocean every minute. When a fish sees a piece of plastic in
the ocean, he has only one thought- dinner. If the seafood sold at our grocery stores is
filled with plastic, then our garbage will end up in our very own stomachs.
You may think, “Let’s stop eating seafood and we will all be fine!” The solution is not
that simple. Seafood is used in foods we would not expect, including sauces, vitamins,
and pet foods. Not only does plastic from seafood harm our bodies, but it also harms
ocean animals who eat seafood, including whales, sea otters, dolphins, seals, and
walruses. Unlike us, many ocean animals need seafood to survive.
Luckily, there is something you can do right now to stop plastic pollution- refuse, reuse,
and recycle. When you have the choice, refuse to buy a plastic product, or choose a
product that is made with the least amount of plastic. Save and reuse plastic for the
future, and when you are finished, always recycle.
Here are three actions that will make a major impact:
1. Use reusable bags when shopping. Refuse plastic bags, and use an old
canvas purse or backpack.
2. Use a reusable water bottle. Save money and our ocean by purchasing a water
bottle you can reuse.
3. Pack snacks in a reusable container. When packing a lunch for school, choose
a reusable container over a Ziploc bag.
Most importantly, talk to your parents, friends, and community about plastic
pollution. Inform people about the impacts of plastic pollution on our seafood and how
we can help. You have the power to save our oceans and our bodies from plastic
Deanna Renee Falge is a hula hooping mermaid who is passionate about sharing her mind through writing and education. She has a degree in Biological Psychology, and background in animal research, marine mammal training, and science communication. When she is not writing, surfing, traveling, dancing, or playing music, she is guiding students at Wild Child Freeschool, an outdoor nature program in the Bay area.
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