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A Plastic World

Story ID:11337
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:vLakewood Ohio usa
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I couldn’t help but think this morning as I read about the “10 Simple Actions That
Just Might Save Our World’s Oceans from Plastic” that how blissful life must be
for people who don’t care at all about saving our oceans and the ocean creatures
whose lives are seriously endangered because of ingesting plastic.

What word or words may well describe them and those of us who belong to this
thoughtless group? The word SELFISH comes to mind, UNCARING is another. Yes,
sadly, I may belong to this group in some way- though I truly hope not and want so
much to leave it if I do.

But how? Well, for one thing -maybe I could follow the wonderful example I witnessed
of an amazing woman who preceded me with her purchases at the cashier’s counter at
our neighborhood Marc’s store. I watched with incredulity as she emptied the veggies
and fruits she bought on the conveyor belt -sans any plastic bags. I wondered how the
cashier would handle her bag less oranges, pears, etc.

As this happened awhile ago, I believe remembering that the cashier didn’t bat an eye,
and simply put the fruit and veggies on her scale and then allowed the lady to deposit
them into her canvas bag. Had the cashier registered surprise or chagrin at this challenging
prospect? If so, I didn’t see it. Maybe this environmental-conscious customer was a regular,
and they learned to handle this “eccentricity” with grace.

Witnessing for the first time this act of environmental concern in a grocery store, I certainly
was surprised but delighted. Sadly, I also believe that I would never have her courage and
dedication for helping the environment by doing the same thing. Of course, this saddens me.
But the very least I can do in this regard is to bring with me my other used plastic bags to
use for bagging my groceries. But in the meantime, I hope that I might one day learn to
exhibit and follow her good example. God bless her and others like her. I believe He
certainly will and does.

In the meantime, I will have to find other ways to show my concern for the environment,
and I believe the 10 Simple Actions which I found on the internet this morning will help
me in this regard:

1. HYDRATE RESPONSIBILITY. By now-everyone knows how important it is to stay hydrated.
But relying on plastic water bottles to get our H2O is proving detrimental to the environment.
It is estimated that we buy 50 billion plastic water bottles a year and only 23 percent of
these end up being recycled. The rest may end up in a landfill or in the ocean. What can
you and I do if we care? A reusable water bottle or cup will help alleviate this problem.

2. MIND YOUR COFFEE HABIT. If you buy a to-go cup of java at the gas station or local café,
the cup will most likely be topped with a plastic lid and a plastic drink stirrer. One person
buying a cup of coffee every weekday means that hundreds of plastic lids and stirrers are
wasted every year. The sad fact is that 138 billion plastic stirrers are tossed out. If you
want to kick this habit – invest in a reusable thermos or mug and stir your coffee with
silverware. A simple resolution, but how many of us will use it?

3. AVOID PLASTIC POP. Like hot beverages, cold drinks which are served in a portable cup
may be made of plastic. And sodas or iced tea from a fast food place are often accompanied
by a plastic lid and straw. If you can’t use a reusable cup, ask for a cup minus the lid and
straw. If you need a reason for making this change- consider that a sea turtle recently was
saved with a timely intervention from the consequences of ingesting a plastic straw.

4. PLASTIC-LESS SHOPPING BAGS. Not only turtles, but marine life generally is suffering as
a result of large plastic bags and 2-liter soda bottles and even tiny micro plastics which are
turning up in the ocean and on the shorelines. A chilling estimate -8.8 million tons of plastics
make their way into our oceans worldwide every single year.

5. STOMP OUT CIGARETTE LITTER. If you smoke, don’t forget to properly dispose of your
cigarette butts. Cigarette filters are not biodegradable as they are made of plastic. Place
the butts in a trash can so that hopefully they don’t end up in the ocean instead.

6. TAKE-OUT CONTAINERS. Styrofoam containers are common forms of plastic pollution,
and are also composed of a combination of toxic chemicals. Of course, if you plan ahead
to bring your own reusable containers with you when eating out, you will be helping to
save the environment. But just how many people you know will do this?

7. REDUCE PLASTIC PACKAGING. While most of us will never measure up to that wonderful
young shopper I mentioned earlier-we can try buying fruits and veggies which don’t come
packaged in plastic bags or brink wrap. Try to avoid purchasing packaged items in place
of individually packaged ones. These may seem like little changes but realizing that plastic
packaging for food is actually the largest form of municipal waste in America should
convince us of this need. This plastic packaging results in 80 million tons of waste.

8. DO YOUR DISHES. Try avoiding plastic cutlery, plates, bowls, and cups to use at home
where they land up with the garbage. If used at every meal- the result is thousands of
pieces of plastic waste each year. Stick with metal or bamboo eating utensils and plates
and bowls that can be used over and over again with out all that waste.

9. QUESTION THAT SEAFOOD. Plastic fishing gear and nets are often discarded and
become a problem for animals which include sea turtles, whales, dolphins, seals, sharks,
birds, and corals. Try cutting support for this industry and replace fish food with plant-
based alternatives.

10. LOOK OUT FOR MICRO BEADS. Micro beads – those tiny spherical plastics are found in
scrubbing or exfoliant agents in many whitening toothpastes and face washes. Imagine
that a recent study found that a single squeeze of a product which contains micro beads
can release 100,000 tiny beads. Once they pass through water treatment plants and end
up in the oceans- they are easily ingested by marine animals exposing them to harmful
toxins and compounds.

The writers of these 10 very good and easy ways to help the environment admit there are
even more ways to save our oceans from plastic pollution. But, I for one, feel if the majority
of us will adopt these 10 simple ways to lessen ocean pollution, it will make a huge impact
on the health of our oceans as well as the health and well being of our marine life.