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The Solution to Plastic Pollution

By Julie Fink
Posted On Apr 22, 2016
The Solution to Plastic Pollution

CAUTION: This is very eye-opening and will probably change your life. I’m one of those passionate, go-getter types who jumps out of their skin when something catches my attention. Plastic pollution is one of those things that I am adamant about. You can’t hide from the facts…

FACT: 93% of Americans have BPA in their bodies from plastic.

FACT: Plastic bags are used on average for 12 minutes but have a life expectancy of up to 1,000 years.

FACT: Over 100,000 marine mammals and one million sea birds will die from ingesting entangled plastic waste.

FACT: According to water filtration company Brita, Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year.

FACT: A plastic water bottle will last up to 450 years on a beach.

FACT: Over the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.

This is a serious problem.

plasticbag-turtle-web

I’ve enlisted the expertise of Dr. David Kerstetter, who heads up the Fisheries Research Laboratory of Nova Southeastern University in South Florida, to tell me a little bit more about the impact that plastic has on the marine environment.

“Second to global climate change, I’d say plastic pollution is up there,” he says about the threat that plastic imposes on our oceans.

The NSU Assistant Professor enlightened me with the the knowledge of the affected sea life including how sea turtles swallow floating plastic bags thinking they are jellyfish, tuna that swim at depths in the ocean are found with plastic in their stomachs, and how it affects sea bird population/nesting colonies.

Plastic waste in our oceans is out of control and the littering of our lands are of equal importance.

“We sometimes forget that a large chunk of the plastic that ends up in the ocean comes down through our rivers and streams. And people who live inland, for example, someone who lives in St. Louis might want to think twice about buying a plastic shopping bag at the grocery store that will end up getting washed into the Mississippi River and a couple months later it’s bothering us down here in the Southern Gulf of Mexico.”

Dr. Kerstetter’s last point hit home, “Anybody going out and picking up just one piece of trash, it’s just one piece of trash that a bird or a turtle isn’t going to eat.”

If you are still not convinced, watch actor Jeff Bridges nail it in this viral video from the Plastic Pollution Collation:

So if you’re anything like me, you’ll go and buy a reusable grocery bag, a glass water bottle and start picking up other people’s litter STAT. Also check out a local clean-up near you and be part of the solution to plastic pollution!

I’m happy to end this tragic plastic tale with a good statistic: The Ocean Conservancy reported an astounding 560,000 volunteers in 91 countries picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash in their 2014 International Coastal Cleanup.

Happy Earth Day love doves and don’t forget…

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

~Mahatma Gandhi