Did you know that only 20% of plastic gets recycled? People never think about where their trash will end up as they’re throwing it away; but they should start to. That other 80% of plastic that’s not getting recycled is ending up on beaches and in the ocean. According to Scholastic, “at least 5 million tons of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans each year.” Plastic is prevalent in the world today. People eat and drink with it, play with it, wear it, and use it in countless other ways. Plastic is inescapable.
The issue with this is that plastic can never biodegrade. Meaning plastic never fully breaks down, and it stays on the earth forever. This has detrimental effects on ocean life. Ocean species must have a healthy ecosystem in order to live. Due to the forever lasting plastic and debris in the ocean, millions of sea creatures die or are harmed each year. Sea creatures are eating and getting caught in the debris. If people don’t start recycling, sea creatures and their habitats will continue to suffer and eventually go extinct. It will also end up affecting humans. The debris on beaches and in the ocean will become a health and safety hazard for humans. Pollution will fill the air and contaminate the animals that we consume. It will destroy the recreation aspect of the beach as well.
The beach will no longer be an enjoyable place to go and it will become a dangerous place to go. Someone could easily step on a piece of debris and become injured. Marine life is also a major food source for humans. If animals continue to die and be contaminated, that food source will diminish.
According to author Laura Perdew, “studies have shown that harmful chemicals are present in the seafood sold for human consumption.” There are ways to help and prevent these things from happening. Beach cleanup programs are available. The website https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/ allows you to type in a location and provides you with what you can recycle, other programs, waste solutions, and much more. It is a great site to use to help keep the beaches clean.
Also, make sure that your trash is ending up in the correct place and recycle what you can. If recycling is not offered through your trash company, you can search “recycling centers near me”, and a list of centers that you can drop off your recycling to will show up. A change must happen to protect our beaches, oceans, and ourselves.
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