What habits can we change to address the crisis in our oceans? The ready availability of single-use plastic seems to be our nemesis.
National Geographic reports that scientists believe 8.8 million tons of plastic wind up in the oceans every year. To get some sense of the enormity of the problem, imagine stacking five plastic grocery bags filled with this trash, one on top of the other. They would cover every foot of coastline in the world. That's a lot of trash.
National Geographic also offers kids “10 tips to reduce your plastic use.” We think these are appropriate for adults as well.
1. Say no to straws. (Animals can get sick after mistaking straws for food. Also avoid using one-time throw-away plastic utensils.)
2. Fill up at the fountain. (Use a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic version.)
3. Make a better bag. (Pack sandwiches and snacks in reusable containers.)
4. Snack on fruit. (Choose an apple, banana or orange instead of snacks packed in plastic.)
5. Build a better goodie bag. (Avoid filling party bags with plastic trinkets. Homemade treats or coupons to a local bakery are good alternatives.)
6. Go for the cone. (No need for plastic spoons and cups when eating ice cream.)
7. Buy in bulk. (Shop for snacks, cereal and pasta in the bulk section to avoid plastic packaging.)
8. Ditch microbeads. (Don't use facewash or toothpaste with microbeads. These tiny plastic beads go down the drain, eventually flowing to rivers, lakes and the ocean.)
9. Never litter. (Sometimes you have to use plastic, and that's OK. But recycle plastic when possible and never leave it in the environment.)
10. Pick up what you can. (Keep local creeks and streams trash free.)
Marionette Jones and Judy Lamana