‘The equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic enters into our seas every minute, every day, all year long.’ Greenpeace

Although governments and corporations are major culprits, an individual can make a big difference. I keep a metal fork, spoon and water container in my car. I refuse to use plastic utensils. I do not buy bottled water. Instead, I use an inline charcoal filter to my refrigerator.

At the grocery store, I use my backpack. I purchase wood and metal alternatives to items made of plastic. On my daily walks, I always do my part and pick up at least one piece of trash. It is important to get involved in community clean-ups. Not only is it making your neighborhoods more attractive, but it also has a big impact on collecting plastic. Community clean-ups are easy to organize and they provide a prideful way to make a difference.
More than 100 million plastic water bottles are used each day. It is time for the government to act. More drinking fountains need to be installed in cities with filters so people will know it is safe to drink from them. Another solution would be to charge high deposit fees on each plastic bottle, to make it affordable to collect these plastic bottles. A better solution to me is banning plastic bottles outright and replacing them with glass bottles. Every city needs to have plastic receiving stations all over town. About 60 years ago, milk and juice were delivered in bottles. Soft drinks were sold in bottles. Glass provides a safe alternative to plastic. In the past, cloth diapers were delivered to homes. It is time to go back to earlier times. People need to get back to cloth diapers. Plastic diapers need to be banned. Excessive plastic packaging needs to be halted. Attitudes towards plastic use need to be changed now.

According to AMCS, 100,000 marine animals and one million seabirds are killed ingesting plastics. Plastic debris, especially along beaches, presents a health hazard. Diapers, sanitary waste, and medical waste litter our beaches. Plastic pollution also is polluting our freshwater. It is also ruining our soils and lands. The soil fertility is depleting and disease-carrying insects are collecting in landfills of plastic.

Humans will be the next to suffer. Unfortunately, plastic in the oceans is breaking down into small particles called micro-beads. Fish absorb the micro-particles and the plastic enters live tissue. When humans eat the fish they ingest these micro-particles. What is even more alarming is that these micro-particles are carried by wind and are breathed in by living organisms.

Advocating online is a great way to make others aware of the plastic nightmare. Speaking at school is another way to educate others on the dangers of plastics. Writing and emailing companies have a big impact. We all can make a big difference, one piece of plastic at a time. Plastic pollution is having a dangerous impact on human’s health, marine life, and the conditions on the existing ecosystem. Every person can accomplish a lot in helping minimize the effects of plastic.

Essay by: Madiana V Martinez
Arizona State University

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