Earth is made up of 70 percent of water and in that water there is about 5 trillion pieces of plastic waste. Our oceans hold around 97 percent of our water. They help regulate our climate and are the main source of oxygen. It is important for people to understand how treating the ocean poorly can have dangerous results. According to National Geographic out of the 5 trillion pieces of trash in the ocean only about 300,000 pieces can be visibly seen. Animals are eating the rest of the trash or it has sunken down to the ocean floor. After researching many different methods to help reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean there are two main solutions I think will show great success.

It is known that people are becoming more aware of the issue of packaging waste getting into the ocean. Since it is becoming a more known topic, people have started to switch over to metal straws and reusable cups. This idea only helps so much, but there are more people in the world that refuse to help. In some states like California they have put a tax on buying plastic bags, the government says it is to reduce the amount of plastic going into the ocean but we are still having large amounts of trash going into the ocean. In California it is only 10 cents to get a plastic bag, people aren’t going to stop using bags just because they cost 10 cents now, 10 cents can be found on the floor it is not enough to stop people from buying bags. It is good to see the government caring about the ocean but if they really wanted to stop the packaging waste they would get rid of plastic bags in stores or either charge more so it does become an inconvenience for people to buy bags and they will be more willing to bring their own.

Another idea that might help the reduction of packaging waste is having a short list of instructions for recycling. Many people don’t see the recycling label clearly since it is usually small and not noticeable clearly. If the label was larger and more visible people will probably recycle more since they know that it is recyclable. Also, if there was a short list of instructions then people could know to clean their recycles off before throwing them out to make work easier for garbage facilities and they won’t have to risk throwing away any plastic that might not be able to be reused. When people are young, their brains are still developing, during this process they are able to quickly build good habits. An article posted by the Tri-State Disposal talks about encouraging students to learn about recycling and its benefits to the oceans. It is also their future that depends on the cleanness of the ocean so they may be more willing to help out.

If we don’t start controlling the amount of waste that goes into the ocean we can eventually see some serious damage to our planet. Our climate will start changing drastically and some of our food supply will be gone. The fishing industry is going to suffer because almost all sea life has been contaminated by the pollution. It’s ok to start small by changing plastic straws to metal straw but eventually more will need to be done in order to save the oceans which covers 70 percent of our world. We are slowly killing the ocean and all the life it holds and if we don’t stop now, it will harm us in many ways in the future.

National Geographic Society. “Ocean Trash: 5.25 Trillion Pieces and Counting, but Big Questions Remain.” National Geographic Society, 14 Jan. 2019

Harrabin, Roger. “Climate change: UK ‘can’t go climate neutral before 2050.'” BBC News , 10 Mar. 2020

“4 Ways to Encourage Your Community to Recycle – Https://Tri.”, 7 June 2017

Essay by: Jessica Smith
Arizona State University

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