There is about 300 million tons of plastic produced every year, mostly for single-use purposes. Over the years with population increase, plastic production has increased as well. With more plastic being made, more of it is being found in the oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. This has led to increased awareness with the hope of reducing the amount of plastic that end up in these places. Many commercials and ads have been shown in promoting ocean clean up projects and to use less plastic water bottles.

The ocean is so beautiful and does not deserve what we have done to it and the species living in it. The 4ocean company sells bracelets and with each bracelet ordered, the company will remove one pound of plastic from the ocean. The company even has bracelets based off different types of ocean life to help promote the cause.

Many species have been affected by the plastics on beaches and in the water. For example, sea turtles’ shells have been deformed from all types of plastics, but mostly six ring plastics from cans. Many sea lions and other types of water species have been found tangled up in plastic bags in the oceans and all types of birds have been found with different types of plastics in their stomachs. It is not fair that our mistakes have punished wildlife. There are other less thought of items than things like cans, plastic bags and water bottles that are affecting our oceans as well. Whenever an online item is purchased it arrives surrounded by Styrofoam to protect the item from being damaged. Ironically, in the end this damages the environment.

Some ways to help protect the environment and its oceans is to simply reduce the amount of plastics you personally use. For example, instead of using a stores plastic bags invest in reusable bags. Reusable bags not only are stronger than plastic bags, but they are also bigger and can carry more inside which in the end helps to use less. Also, using a reusable water bottle can be beneficial instead of purchasing a 24 pack of water bottles. These reusable bottles can hold more water depending on the size purchased compared to a regular bottle. A thermal flask can even keep the beverage cold or hot. It may be a bit of an investment, but in the end, this would save money compared to buying a packs of water bottles repeatedly. It is understandable that sometimes purchasing plastic can’t be avoided, but the intention is to just use less. If an item is surrounded by plastic, it is important to dispose of it properly. For example, if a six pack of soda cans was purchased, it is important to make a cut in each ring to prevent animals from getting stuck inside them and for it to be put into a recycling bin.

The world isn’t going to be changed overnight, but even the little things can help make an improvement. Everyone is taught reduce, reuse, and recycle, but sometimes it needs to be taken a step further. A simple way to help is by picking up a piece of trash found on the ground and properly dispose it. It is easy to look the other way and say that it wasn’t your mess so it’s not your problem. If people focus on the bigger picture, than letting that piece of trash sit there will become your problem because littering and plastic use has had such a negative effect on the Earth. Even a small step like a donation to an ocean cleanup project would make a difference in improving the environment.

Essay by: Monique Prieto
Lemoore High School

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