Our oceans are crucial to us. They provide over half of the oxygen we breath and controls the climate and weather change. It’s also home to numerous wildlife that we desire to keep active for all future generations to discover more about. Unfortunately, the ocean and its wildlife cannot continue to strive with the waste that is pushed into the ocean. With habit changes between everyone, we can aid the ocean back to recovery from the damage we caused.

The largest victim of hurting ocean wildlife is plastic. Plastic is used by all of us multiple times everyday and just get tossed out immediately after one use. For instance, all of the items we shop for are held by plastic bags used to aid in the process of bringing the items home. There are about one-trillion single-use plastic bags that are used all across the globe as well as 500 million plastic straws being thrown out each day. Rather than using plastic bags, we can all choose to use reusable bags or even paper bags. We can also ditch straws all together but if that is not an option for some, there are plastic straws and metal straws that have made their mark all over the internet that we can use and offer in replacement. Another big item that effects our oceans are water bottles. With the amount of water our bodies need daily, we are bound to drink out of a lot of bottles. Rather than buying water bottles, we can use reusable bottles and filters them with purified water or even buy a bottle with a built in water filter. The action we take to eliminate single use products like these will eliminate the immense amount of plastic making a significant difference in the issue.

Moreover, the plastic items we feel the need to replace after every use can be reused as the original intended use or even reused to make the item into something different to avoid the plastic ending up in the ocean. Plastic can even be used to make any type of reusable item! With the idea of single use plastic in mind, we should also avoid to use glitter. Glitter is very small and often throw on our earth to blow into the ocean only making the plastic problem worse. Although glitter is very eye catching, we can live without using it. Our produce and food that we buy also contain a great deal of plastic. In order to reduce the amount of plastic we waste with buying food, we can choose to buy our food in bulk and use our own reusable containers when shopping for vegetables and spices.

Eliminating the use of plastic all together does prevent the ocean from further being ruined but this does not do anything with the waste that is already in and around the ocean. To assist the ocean’s current condition, we can all come together to organize and/or participate in beach clean ups. Most of our waste is blown into the ocean through wind from the grounds, to beaches, then into the oceans. Participating in beach clean ups will help to get rid of littered waste before it is blown into the ocean. With the waste that has already made its way into the ocean, there are boats sent out into the oceans that clean the waste out. Although not everyone can take time off to travel oceans and fish out the waste, we can still provide donations towards the ocean clean ups. Donations are an immense help for them considering they are funded only by sponsors and donations.

All in all, we deserve to live a live of cleaner air and steady weather. Our future also deserves to be able to experience these long lived animals a part of the ocean life. All we truly need to do to assist the ocean in providing this for us is to put our trash in the right place, do our parts in keeping our earth clean, and use plastic alternatives. Each persons change of everyday habits in order to help the oceans does more than you truly think!

Essay by: Jillian Wolfe
Columbia College Chicago

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