Plastic Consumption is Sabotaging the Globe

Plastic Use Needs a Stop to It


Nayely Espinoza-Perez

Salvation Army making an attempt to lower the use of plastic bags, which are not recyclable.

Nayely Espinoza-Perez, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Staws, trash bags, water bottle caps, clear plastic wrap, ziploc bagsthe list on non-recyclable materials goes on. These are all the items in which society uses on a daily basis. Each of these items, and much more, are NOT recyclable. If it is not recyclable, then it is not reusable; if it is not reusable, then it is harming the planet. This prompts one to ask themselves: If it is not recyclable, then what is the reason for people to continue investing their money on plastic when there are alternatives? 

   Plastic is interfering with our underwater ecosystems, killing sea animals, and targeting turtles. Plastic is often mistaken as food, so when sea animals consume the harmful plastic, it prevents food digestion, and it can cause a slow, painful death. Plastic straws are unfortunately getting stuck inside turtle’s noses. As a matter of fact, turtles are now on the list of endangered species. John R. Platt, a writer for The Scientific American, wrote, “a new report warns that freshwater turtles and tortoises are among the world’s most threatened groups of species, with more than 40 percent at risk of extinction…”That is almost half of the turtles on the risk of becoming extinct. 

   Turtles already have a hard time surviving during the 21st century. With habitat destruction, suffering from poaching and over-exploitation, and a change in climate affecting their nesting sites, it is no wonder why nearly all species of turtles are classified as endangered. Reducing plastic use would make a helpful contribution on lowering the percent of turtles being on the list of becoming extinct.

   Plastics can take up to 400 years to decompose; it is not biodegradable. This means that plastic that is polluted onto the Earth’s waters if formed into microplastics. Microplastics are five millimeters or smaller in length making them difficult to pick up when cleaning out oceans.  

    Anna Cummins, Co-founder of 5 gyres, has been involved in an expedition on cleaning out ocean waters. She points out that they are finding small amounts of plastic in deserted areas on oceans. However, it isn’t so much on discovering little amounts of plastic, it is more so on the fact that there is so much plastic in the ocean that it is beginning to travel to water that is in the middle of nowhere. 

   Because plastic is a lightweight material, it is easy for wind to blow it into oceans out of uncovered trash cans and land. The predicted total amount of plastic in the ocean is 8 million metric tons of plastics on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments. Sophie Hirsh, author of “How Plastic Straws Affect the Ocean and Sea Turtles”, expressed, “some scientists even believe that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean (by weight).” This is certainly something that the population would look be looking forward to.

   Ultimately, the consumption of plastic is becoming a red light.