Welcome to the Plastic page!
Plastic is everywhere around you. That bottle on the counter's plastic. That container is plastic. The tiny beads in your soap are plastic. Heck, that TV remote is plastic!
Naturally, as with all good things, plastic comes with a serious downside.
For one thing, it doesn't degrade, or at least not for a very, very long time. And for another thing, it tends to go into the ocean and cause problems there.
If that plastic bottle on the counter is a one-use bottle, chances are it's either going to a landfill, a recycling center (yay!) or the ocean. Same with the TV remote after you get up at midnight, blindly stumble around, and step on it. And the tiny beads? They don't even go near a landfill. They just go straight to the ocean.
The Bigger Garbage
Debris varies in size. Some debris is big, like a fishing net, while some is smaller, like soda can rings. You know, the kind that come wrapped around your soda cans.
At any size, plastic can hurt marine life. Soda rings tangle up fish and choke larger fish and mammals. Nets catch fish and mammals, effectively injuring and/or killing them. Plastic bags fool jellyfish-eating animals into taking a bite out of that.
We haven't even gotten started on the fact that plastic has harmful chemicals, and fish eat that, and we eat fish. We may be hurting ourselves second-handedly. But one thing's for sure, marine debris is nothing to sneeze at.
You ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Yeah, that one. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you read that? A landfill? A dump?
Nah. It's a bunch of - you guessed it - plastic floating in the ocean. It gets in the way, it makes beaches dirty, it makes fish/ocean mammals sick....in other words, it's annoying, if not just plain anger-inducing!
"So why don't we just clear it out?" you may be asking. I'll tell you why.
The entire thing reaches from the very top of the water to the very bottom of the ocean. Clearing it out would take ages, and might do more harm than good. Plus, we couldn't possibly get it all; some of it is going to get away from us, and start a whole NEW garbage patch somewhere else.
So how do we fix it?
We stop it at the source.
If we stop letting things get to the ocean, that clears it up a bit. Then, we need to wait for it to wash ashore, and pick it up. We also need to make sure THAT doesn't go back to the ocean. It's quite the vicious cycle.
Ah, microbeads. The tiny little plastic beads that they put in your soap to "invigorate" your skin (in reality, it just feels weird). Not only does it not work like 50% of the time, but the microbeads end up in the ocean.
Microbeads are dangerous. Not only do they clog up a fish/sea mammal's stomach, but it also has the normal toxins that plastic has. Oh, and it's really tiny, so it's really hard to clean up.
Think about it. Fish eats microbeads. We eat fish. Therefore, we're hurting ourselves and clogging up OUR stomachs with tiny plastic beads that never do what they promise anyway. Does that seems smart to you?
I think the frick not.
Now, this doesn't just hurt fish. It hurts sea turtles, whales, sharks, anything that could come in contact with the microbeads. And they're EVERYWHERE. In the fish, in the water, in your soap - wait, it came from the soap, sorry.
In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, they literally cover the surface of the water. That's how many of them there are.
Stay tuned for the next page.