You look out at the sparkling sea and take in the view of mountains rising from the banks. Then, all of a sudden, a pile of trash floats by. Well…that certainly wasn’t part of the plan! Where did it come from?
That view may become more and more common as time goes on. The oceans are filling up with garbage. In fact, there are places in the ocean so filled with trash, they are called “garbage islands,” and they are miles around. One of the largest is known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and it continues to grow every day.
The reason, of course, is people. In our rush to get the latest and greatest of everything, we are creating mounds and mounds of garbage. There are all the plastic water bottles, overuse of plastic packaging, the plastic rings around pop can 6-packs… plastic everything. Get the picture? Some plastic takes 1,000 years to biodegrade. Don’t throw it in the ocean!
What’s that? You don’t throw your garbage in the ocean? So, how does it all get in there? Lots of ways. It blows in, falls off boats, birds carry it in, cruise ships drop it in, rainstorms carry it in, and people leave things on shore that get washed out to sea.
To make matters worse, some marine animals get stuck in plastic or even eat it. The Laysan albatross is a beautiful bird with a 6-foot wingspan. They soar over the ocean for miles and miles, and they usually mate for life. They also happen to eat garbage that falls into the ocean. Although these birds may look beautiful, they aren’t necessarily the smartest since they can’t tell the difference between a fish and a cigarette lighter. It’s tragic to see the picture of one who died since its stomach was literally filled with plastic garbage.
So, what can you do? Try to limit your garbage addiction. Pay attention to how much you throw away. Carry reusable grocery bags and water bottles. In short: try to make less trash.