Plastic planet

Viktoria Panayotova, Reporter

Do you think about the environment every day? When you see trash on the ground, do you grab it and throw it away? If the answer is no, you should be concerned.

You may wonder why you should be concerned about the environment. Well, think about your future, your kids, and your grandchildren. If you leave everything as it is now, imagine what it would be like for them.

The issue of the environment is not one-sided; it is a political, social, and economic problem.

It is a political problem, because politicians should not discuss this topic only during elections. This issue should always be addressed, and politicians should be the ones to make rules and laws to help protect the environment.

It is a social issue because it is part of our everyday lives.

It is an economic issue for a variety of reasons, but one big one is the production of plastic. Plastic is a major environmental problem, but imagine if companies stop producing it. They will suffer a great loss. Hence, it is an economic problem, as well. We need to produce less plastic, but if we do, there will be monetary issues.

Think about your everyday lives. Everyday you are driving to work or riding the bus to school, using plastic bags even for things you don’t need them for, and this is not okay.

No matter if we want to admit it or not, everyday our choices cause environmental concerns and it is not pleasant, and eventually, the Earth will become a plastic planet.

Did you know that humans have produced more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic for the last 50 years? According to National Geographic this is true; what will the next 50 years look like?

Where do you think this plastic goes? According to Public Broadcasting System (PBS), more than 75% of all plastic produced goes into landfills or the environment.

According to Daily Mail, in 2007, a strange group of shipwrecks ended up at the coast of North France: rubber duckies.

These rubber ducks began a 15-year long journey in 1992, when a ship from Hong Kong to the United States lost part of its load during a storm, 28,800 toys in total.

However, rubber duckies are not the only pollutants  made by people that is floating in the seas.

Plastic takes an extremely long time to break down to other or smaller substances, about 450 years.

Plastic bags are the most common plastic pollutant, but there are many more: fish nets left in the seas, ropes, and cigarettes to name a few.

According to the National Geographic, the most pollution in one sea is in the North Pacific Gyre, which had 3.5 million tons of rubbish on the surface; twice as big as the United States of America.

Most of the pollution in the seas comes from actions on land. No matter how much is done to take care of pollution, rivers, floods and the wind will bring the garbage to the water.

One of the main consequences of the pollution of the oceans are that animals won’t have enough food. Algalita research, an independent  institute for marine research in California, found that in 2004, the sea water there had six times more plastic than plankton.

In addition, animals may also attempt to eat some plastic trash, so many animals have died because of this.

We should also be concerned, because if fish are eating plastic, then there are chemicals and plastic found in the fishes bodies, which at one point can come to us, the humans when we eat them.

Actions start from us. We can be the change.

Think about if you really need those plastic bags you use every day. You can easily replace them with reusable ones, which are even more convenient.

What about plastic bottles? It’s so much easier to invest in a reusable one that you can use for at least a year.

If you really want to continue using plastic water bottles, you can recycle them.

Another plastic problem are straws, so instead of using plastic straws it is really easy to replace them with reusable metal ones.

Everyone gets coffee from the local coffee shop at least once a week. Why don’t you make your own coffee or just bring your thermos to the coffee shop?

Yet another way to save energy is to turn off the lights if you’re not in a room; this will save you money, too.

It is a big and global problem, but by changing our everyday lives and habits, we will help stop the pollution.

All in all, you have to believe that you can make the change, because when everyone around you has hope and faith, you can do amazing and beneficial things. It only takes a little action.