By Shannon Murphy (Aged 14)
How many half empty water bottles do you have in your car? Or half full? Are you part of the plastic pollution problem?
It doesn’t matter which way you look at it because either way, the waste, as a result, is astronomical! Not just your waste but everyone’s! All of those half full plastic bottles add up. Where do you think they all go? They aren’t biodegradable so they are not going to go anywhere sat in landfill and they don’t dissolve in water, or get eaten by the ocean, so every time you litter, thinking no one will notice, think again. Look here at how much plastic my family uses!
You can’t walk up the street without seeing plastic pollution; your eyes merely skim over it, as though nothing is out of place. And it’s true. We’ve become so accustomed to seeing litter on the floor that it’s almost a part of our daily lives. In fact, if we enter an establishment free of wrappers, cans and bottles, it’s seen as highly unusual, and someone will exclaim, “my, it’s very clean, isn’t it?”, in an almost uncomfortable manner.
It’s very rare, I have noticed, to see someone pick up a piece of litter and put it in a bin.
People complain that their roads are dirty as if their words alone will make a difference and the world will clean itself up within seconds of the snapping of their fingers.
It doesn’t work like that. I read a quote by Thomas Edison once that stated “opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. This, I think, accurately describes the majority of people. They like the idea of doing something, but don’t want to actually do it.
We get the world as it comes, meaning that if we carry on in the way we do, we are going to leave a horrible mess for our children to clean up.
Have you ever had to clean up somebody else’s mess To sit at a table at a fast food restaurant you must first clear away trays of mainly untouched food. And that tray is barely a percent of waste statistics.
People know of the problems we and our families will face, yet they do nothing. And if we carry on like this, what kind of world are we making for our children? Our grandchildren? What are we teaching them? We need to change our ways. It’s not too late and it’s certainly not too late to teach our children some good from the beginning.
Plastics do not break down organically. They only break down chemically. They end up as tiny plastic beads that find themselves in the stomach of sea creatures, to the point where they can’t ingest any genuine food – killing them. And if this sad fact isn’t enough to make you tear up, those sea creatures end up in us. In our food.
Our own actions will always have repercussions and consequences. We should be the ones to burden them and make things right.
Plastic Pollution Solution
There are many ways to go about the reduction of plastic waste, some much more complex and expensive than others. The easiest option everybody can do. Even you.
Don’t buy plastic bottles. It sounds difficult when it’s put like that, but if me, a fourteen-year-old with no influence or power can do it, then you definitely can. All you have to do is take a reusable bottle wherever you go. This will save money, and keep you healthy and hydrated. It’s a no-brainer, really.
Personally, I’m going to encourage my school to get accessible recycling bins. There are few bins in the building, and in all of them lie a mixture of wasted food and plastic. These don’t belong in the same bin, clearly, but as there is only a general waste bin available, I would rather bin it altogether than litter.
When you see litter, pick it up. It takes an extra ten seconds out of your life. It doesn’t matter that it’s not yours. The earth is your responsibility, so look after it. We only have one.
In Britain, we now have to pay 5p to get a plastic bag in store, and whilst a few remember to bring reusable bags with them, most are willing to pay an extra 5p.
I think that, really, if they want people to not buy the plastic bags there are several ways of doing it. Providing paper bags instead is one way but quite expensive. Another option is to simply ban all plastic bags – nobody can buy them if they aren’t available. Finally, we could always just raise the price to something that makes people think “I’m no paying that just for a plastic bag”.
Unfortunately, actually putting these plans into action is a lot harder than it looks, especially for one person. If you want to do something that doesn’t require a petition or an entire campaign (something simple) then just remember to bring reusable bags. It’s so simple, yet still, nobody does it.
To stop yourself forgetting reusable bags and bottles, keep some in the car! And on the rare occasion you do find yourself needing to purchase a plastic bag or bottle, it’s fine. Just find a recycling bin.
If you want help from somebody who may be able to do more than you in the long run, try speaking to your local MP. See what they have to say. Maybe their party already has an environmental policy underway. The least we can do is ask.
My “reduce, reuse, recycle” idea must seem rather cliche, but it honestly can work. If we all do our part.
I Want A Plastic-Free World
I would like to live in a world free of plastic pollution, free of turtles dying because they got straws stuck up their nostrils, free of fish dying because they swallow the plastic that we dump. The truth is sad, but we have the chance to make it become history. We can save the world.
The state our world is in upsets me. Humans seem to leave behind a trail of destruction that we think doesn’t matter because it hasn’t affected us yet. But it will. And I don’t think we’ll be ready when it does.
The state our world is in annoys me, but whilst I can try there’s not much I can do alone. I need you to help me, because together we can make a difference. Together we can change the world, for ourselves and for our families. We can do it, together.