Have you ever been to the beach and seen trash laying there? Most people who see trash on the beach pick it up and throw it away. But, there are some people who see it and think “It’s just a little bit of trash, I’m sure it’s fine”. If you’re one of those people I suggest you stop. There is so much waste in the ocean that destroys the life of marine animals. Not only does it hurt them and their habitats, it is also hurting us and our environment.
I feel like one thing people don’t really realize is all of the things we buy come in some kind of packaging. For example, if we go out and buy some chips from the grocery store before we go to the beach, it comes in some sort of plastic bag. If we just leave the empty bag there at the beach it will end up getting into the ocean. It may not seem like such a big deal if one chip bag gets into the giant ocean, but when people think that way all around the world then all those chip bags begin to accumulate. In the Article Oh, This is Great by Thomas Morton, he talks about a man named Charles Moore who visited the North Pacific Gyre while on the way back to California from Hawaii. Charles Moore just wanted to see what it looked like. When he got there, he saw nothing but trash. Some trash he found was interesting, like the crates of hockey masks and the crates of nikes but the trash was mostly plastic and it was just circling around gyre like a giant toilet. The trash he found there was from different places in the world. This means that America is not the only country who is polluting the ocean. “A team of researchers in the United States and Australia led by Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia, analyzed plastic waste levels in the world’s oceans. They found that China and Indonesia are the top sources of plastic bottles, bags and other rubbish clogging up global sea lanes. (McCarthy pp. 1)” They are the top sources for plastic bottles, plastic bags, and other plastic waste that ends up in the ocean.
The bad thing about plastic is that it is not biodegradable. Instead plastic will photodegrade over time and become smaller and smaller. This means that every piece of plastic that has been dumped into the Pacific Ocean is still there and has made its way to the center of the Gyre, it is just too small to notice. I think it is crazy that all that plastic that has been dumped in the Pacific Ocean is still there, that just blows my mind. It would be crazy to somehow see how much plastic is in the ocean. Well, Charles Moore and his crew decided to run some test on the water near the center of the Gyre. In the middle of all the waste there were some jellyfish who were completely covered in plastic particles. Moore and his crew wanted to know the plastic to seawater ratio. What they found out was shocking. Based on multiple samples of water, Moore and his crew estimated the plastic to seawater ratio as 6 to 1. The closer they got to the center of the Gyre the higher the ratio got. When they got to the center of the gyre they were pulling up water to test and it looked like they were just pulling up plastic. This shows just how bad our oceans are. There is so much pollution in the ocean many marine animals start to eat the trash because they think it is food.
All the plastic that has photodegraded over time has become so small that little fish think it is food. This is terrible for the fishes health and our health. Smaller fish in the ocean eat these small organisms called plankton. Because the plastic has photodegraded so much, the fish in the ocean start to think that the plastic is plankton and they eat it. When plastic is consumed by a fish it builds up in their fat. So when a small fish gets eaten by a bigger fish, he is basically eating all the plastic that the small fish ate. This continues all the way up the food chain. So when we cast a line, catch a fish and eat it, all of that plastic that the fish has been gathering by eating other fish is getting into our bodys. When plastic is consumed by the human body it can cause some long term effects like cancer or organ failure.
I think people should come together to try and lessen pollution in the ocean. There is nothing we can do about the trash that is in the ocean already because there is so much of it and it is so widely spread out. But we can begin to make an effort to try and not add to the pollution in the ocean. Me and a couple friends used to go to the beach almost every weekend over the summer. Before we chilled out and swam in the water we would walk up and down the beach and pick up as much trash as we could. Once we finished up doing that, it was time to have fun and relax on the beach. I think people who live close to a beach should do this on the weekends if they’re not busy. It’s fun and it gets you out of the house. If you go with a group of friends it kind of becomes a competition of who can collect the most trash. If enough people began to do this just imagine how much cleaner our beaches and oceans would be.
In the article titled Ever Wonder If You Could Kill What You Eat? We Did The Other Night By Makenna Goodman, she talks about the way we treat the animals that we eat. This kind of ties into all the pollution in the ocean because if we keep polluting the ocean we are technically mistreating the animals we eat. The more we pollute, the more plastic the fish consume. Even though she doesn’t talk about fish, she does make some good points. She thinks that as long as we treat the animals we eat well, it is not unethical to kill and eat them. If the animal is kept in a tiny space and then shipped to different farms and eventually a slaughterhouse, that will bring stress to the animal. It is not ethical to treat these animals terribly. She talks about how bad the animals are treated at big farms that stock the meat section in most grocery stores. For example, the chickens at one of these big farms are kept in a cage with hundreds of other chickens. When there is such a large number of chickens held in one place it is hard for them to from a social structure. They also tend to get very frustrated and end up pecking at each other which causes major injuries. “Such intensive confinement also breeds filth and disease (Peta pp. 2)”. I think this is just disgusting. The fact that they still sell the meat from the chickens that were held in a diseased area makes my stomach turn. Also, the chickens can get so out of hand they end up killing other chickens. They also feed these chickens a bunch of filler foods that will make the chicken bigger, therefore producing more meat. These chickens are also not able to roam the fields and live a happy life. These chickens spend their whole lifes stuck in a cage with a ton of other chickens and they are being fed food that chickens should not be eating.
The story is completely different at small farms and home farms. She explains how she was having people over for dinner at her house and her mom went and killed one of her chickens so they can eat. She says she doesn’t find it unethical because she knows how the chicken lived. She raised this chicken along with a bunch of other chickens by herself. She made sure they had enough water to drink. She made sure these chickens were eating the proper foods that they should be eating. Instead of cramming a hundred chickens into one tiny cage like the big farms do, she allows her chickens to wander her fields all day and eat little bugs from the grass. She also makes sure that when it is time for them to be killed for food she does it quick and painless in a place that the chicken is familiar with instead of shipping them to slaughter houses which causes them stress.
Overall, I think we should treat the fish in the ocean with the same amount of respect that these small farmers show to their chickens. It is not fair that many fish are eating plastic because they think it is plankton. These fish don’t know any better but we do. I think everyone should show this planet some respect by not polluting.
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