by Cathy Tourloukis.
Our planet is in peril. Plastic is taking over our world exponentially.
It’s a crisis so serious that the United Nations has literally declared war on ocean plastic, with an unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: micro-plastics in cosmetics, and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022.
So far, 10 countries have joined the campaign with pledges to help turn the plastic tide: Belgium, Costa Rica, France, Grenada, Indonesia, Norway, Panama, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone and Uruguay.
Notably missing — the United States of America.
Plastic is man-made. It is not a natural material. It is not biodegradable. Paper, cloth, bamboo are all materials that biodegrade and go back to nature. But plastic does not. It sometimes does decompose into microscopic particles, but it never becomes part of the earth.
Land animals, sea creatures and birds are eating bits of plastic, even whole plastic bags and it is resulting in their deaths.
National Geographic reports that in 2010, eight million tons of plastic trash ended up in the ocean from coastal countries—far more than the total that has been measured floating on the surface in the ocean’s “garbage patch.”
“That’s the bad news,” said National Geographic. “The even worse news is that the tonnage is on target to increase tenfold in the next decade unless the world finds a way to improve how garbage is collected and managed.”
There is a very simple way to help stop this plastic plague. We can and must stop using plastic disposable products. Plastic bags. Plastic cups. Plastic straws. Plastic utensils. Plastic take out containers.
There are alternatives to each of these products. Alternatives that do not harm the planet. Alternatives that are quite easy to use.
Cloth reusable bags. Stainless steel reusable drink containers. Stainless steel or paper straws or no straw at all. Metal reusable utensils. Cardboard take-out boxes.
We make choices every day. Let’s choose to protect our planet for future generations. Let’s take the time to think about our future. There are too many things over which we have no control. Often, we have no say in what happens.
But eliminating the use of single-use plastic is something each and every one of us can do. This is something we can control, if we so choose.
Let’s Save Our Seas. All of us together.
“Plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest. REFUSE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC.” — Plastic Pollution Coalition
Cathy Tourloukis, an active environmentalist, is a Carolina Forest resident and member of the Chirping Bird Society. She started the Facebook page, Plastic Free Myrtle Beach.