For years we have abused our ocean waters around the world by dumbing unwanted waste into it and putting not just the marine life but everything else that depends on our oceans. How do we reduce or better yet stop this from happening? While there is not one simple easy answer there are solutions out there, but citizens of the world need to unite and work to save our oceans.

Plastic is one of the biggest items used by companies when it comes to packing. It is light weight, has a long shelf life. There are some benefits for using plastic. Food items that are packed in plastic often reduce spoilage. With plastic being light weight, it also reduces the cost of transporting it. Plastic is also being use more to make automobiles, resulting in them being lighter in weight, watch reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

It is not all good news when it comes to plastic. With it getting used more and more around the world it is finding its way at record pace into our oceans. While some of it does come from commercial and fishing boats, over 75% comes from land use. So, do the benefits of plastic out weight the negatives? Are there better options?

If we do not’ start to take seriously the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean we are on the fast track of having more plastic in the ocean, then marine life. There is a company called Dow, who is one the biggest producers of plastic used for packaging, does believe there is a global solution, but everyone one (consumers, producers, etc.) need to play a part. First step is we need have and do a better job recycling. One issue where I live is while we are given recycling bins, they are only picked up every other week, but trash is picked up every week, so often when the recycling bin is full recyclable items end up in the trash. If we had recycling picked up every week more items would end up in the recycling center. This seems like an easy and doable fix to me.

If we can find a way for plastic to end up in a recycling center and getting it be reused into new sustainable product then it will stay out of the oceans.

One thing that I think companies could do is to organize ocean or beach clean up days. Maybe once a week they arrange to have some of their employees go to the local beach (at a lake, river, or ocean) and have them clean it up. By cleaning the beach up, they are stopping plastic from even entering the water. Also, companies could maybe pay to have recycling bins around the beach area or have offer incentives or discounts to customers who would return packing supplies back to them after use.

The reality is that human are the problem and humans are the solution.

Essay by: Meghan E. Haefs
Arizona State University

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