By Delaney Sis and Na’Riyah Johnson
Have you ever wondered how much plastic is actually in the ocean?
Plastic doesn’t decompose, like other wastes, and according to theoceancleanup.com, there are 5 different offshore areas that have accumulated 1.15 to 2.41 million tons of plastic. These areas of plastic are called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). These patches are the largest accumulated areas ranging from Hawaii and California. The GPGP covers 1.6 million square kilometers. That’s about twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France.
You may be asking why we should care; well according to the National Ocean Service website, 700 different marine species encounter debris. Sadly, 92% of the debris these species come across are plastic. Only 17% of the debris are on the list of threatened animals. There is 180x more plastic than marine life. Also, marine life can get entangled.
Some ways that debris enter water are from the rain and winds. For example, when you leave a water bottle on the ground and it rains, the rain water will carry it to the sewer, and it ends up in our rivers, streams, and lakes.
Some ways you can help with this issue is by using less plastic, recycling more, and helping with cleaning/volunteering or participating in shore cleanups.
Some other ways that you can help with this issue is by putting trash into designated areas. You can also help by using no plastic straws or plastic cups.
Starbucks was the business that first announced they were moving from plastic straws, to more compostable straws. You may be wondering why, well 4% of the plastic in the ocean is made up of straws. An average person uses 1.6 straw a day. This mean that 25,000 people have stopped using straws. For more information about plastic straws, please visit: https://squareup.com/townsquare/why-plastic-straws-are-being-banned