Pretty,Pretty Plastic

November 18, 2011
By ridethewaves BRONZE, La Mirada, California
ridethewaves BRONZE, La Mirada, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Pretty pretty plastic, that Barbie doll is made of pretty pink and red plastic. The G.I.Joe gun is made with the same stuff, the stuff that is slowly killing our pretty, pretty planet. But what happens when I don’t want Barbie any more, can I just throw her in the garbage? What happens is this Barbie can simply be recycled. This thought goes through everyone’s mind now days in America, the thought of recycling. Many people would say they are being suffocated by environmentalists because of their ideas of making the planet greener and cleaner, when in reality, animals are the ones actually being suffocated by the plastic rings that were wrapped around our six cans of soda, those same six rings, or even Barbies shoes, are thought of as food and kill that cute looking sea lion, seal, or sea turtle. Now if you have the same thought process as I do, you wouldn’t want to hurt those marine animals just as much as I wouldn’t.

In America we have things made easy for us, to help us in our daily lives, to maintain a fast paced society, to give us “on the go” items, since we are always in a rush. When in fact these “on the go” plastic bags, individually wrapped items, and to go containers are causing a death trap to the animals all around, especially marine animals. These animals easily mistake these plastics, our trash, as food when we measly throw our trash on the beach or simply don’t recycle. Recycling and composting nearly 85 million tons of solid waste saves more than 1.3 quadrillion Btu (heat value) of energy, the equivalent of over 229 million barrels of oil. (3) With all that saved, we can continue down a better road of going greener and living with a cleaner ocean saving those fuzzy animals.

In the Pacific Ocean there is a certain gyre called The North Pacific Gyre, which is made up of four currents that circle in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In the middle, where all the currents meet, there is trash accumulated to almost twice the size of Texas, called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Here trash floats just below the surface filled with all kinds of trash and plastic. The Gyre will soon start picking up somewhere between 5 and to 20 million tons of marine debris from the tsunami that hit Japan, causing even more destruction. (2) Most of this trash is not even being biodegraded because most plastics photo degrade, meaning plastic does not decompose from living organisms it is decomposed by sunlight. (1) When decomposed by sunlight it takes many, many years to do so, even then the plastic does not fully go away. Plastic polymers, the broken down substances on the plastic, are left to be eaten by the fish, birds, and other various animals mistaking it for food. Once these plastics are inside of the animal, they tend to think they are full thus not filling up on actual food that will nourish their bodies, hence they die from these polymers. Not only are these plastics killing the animals in the ocean, they are killing, or causing sickness to the things that consume them, such as larger fish, birds, or even humans. According to a study published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, about 35% of the fish collected on a research expedition from the North Pacific Gyre, had plastic in their stomachs.(4) Seeing as we don’t want to be eating plastic, we need to do something about it.

Simply we can promote awareness of recycling and provide recycle bins at beaches and other various locations, but nothing will happen if we don’t promote ways to benefit ourselves, since we are self centered beings. Meaning, we work well with having incentives for ourselves and providing options that benefit us, since most people don’t think that keeping our ocean and planet clean is a good enough incentive for us now and for future generations. In fact, new incentives keep popping up all around, in malls, online, just about everywhere but people still don’t choose to recycle. Sometimes you get paid to turn in your old phone, to go down to the local dump or even a grocery store to get paid for the cans and bottles you saved. Recycling just 1 ton of aluminum cans conserves more than 36 barrels of oil, or 1,665 gallons of gasoline. (3) Its an easy thing to do everyday that will cut back on the trash you consume but also help protect ourselves, future generations, and even those cute fuzzy animals we love to see. Not only is recycling good for us and those animals, we help promote a clean society and healthier air to breathe, and cutting back on sickness and viruses that can pollute our lungs and areas in which we live.

In conclusion, its important to recycle those pesky water bottles, and just any plastic in general because its bad for the environment, the health of the animals we all love, and even the health of ourselves. So taking part, even if it is just one person, it does do something for the benefit of environment because we have no where else to live but planet earth and we should respect the place where we live, cause there is no way the earth can defend itself from the destruction we do. So taking part in making our world a cleaner and greener place is the right thing because we don’t want those “pretty, Pretty Plastics” causing any harm, to anyone or anything.

The author's comments:
(1) "Article: North Pacific Gyre." The Social Network for Sustainability. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <>.

(2) Changemakers, Ashoka. "Update on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Yes, It's Still There) | Care2 Causes." Care2 - Largest Online Community for Healthy and Green Living, Human Rights and Animal Welfare. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <>.

(3) "Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: Facts and Figures | Municipal Solid Waste | Wastes | US EPA." US Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <>.

(4) "ScienceDirect - Marine Pollution Bulletin : Plastic Ingestion by Planktivorous Fishes in the North Pacific Central Gyre." ScienceDirect - Home. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <>.

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