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Time to cut ties with plastic

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Time to cut ties with plastic

Nelson poses with her environmentally-friendly, reusable cup.

Nelson poses with her environmentally-friendly, reusable cup.

Nelson poses with her environmentally-friendly, reusable cup.

Nelson poses with her environmentally-friendly, reusable cup.

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By now, the photo of the dead bird with a plastic-filled stomach has been reshared by many of my Facebook friends. So many of us have seen that image, as well as tides filled with plastic and shores covered in bottles, bags, and containers. We’re disturbed by these images, and yet we continue to use plastic bags, plastic straws, buy food sold in plastic containers, etcetera. Plastic is everywhere, consuming the consumers and hurting the planet. It’s time we stop consuming so much plastic.

To all my friends who proudly tell me that they use plastic water bottles and to all the ones who could easily purchase a reusable cup, but refuse because they think it’s ‘gross’: please stop. I’m tired of hearing silly excuses on why people don’t reduce their plastic consumption, and frankly, the planet is too. I understand that plastic water bottles are more convenient, as are plastic bags and using a straw when eating out. I also understand that buying reusable products isn’t always affordable, which is another problem in itself. But to all those that can go reusable, please do. At this point, the planet really needs it.

According to Ocean Crusaders, there are believed to be 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Around the world, people are using a million bags every minute across the world. Surfers Against Sewage says that approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution enter the ocean every day. All of this plastic comes at a cost. 100,000 marine creatures die every year from becoming trapped in plastic, and around one million sea birds die from eating plastic. Further, one single plastic bag can kill multiple animals because if one animal consumes it and dies, the animal will disintegrate, and in that time, the plastic bag still won’t have decomposed, so another animal can mistake that bag for food and eat it.

So sure, plastic is convenient. It’s easiest to take the plastic cup from Starbucks because you forgot yours at home, to buy the food wrapped in plastic because that’s what’s at the grocery store, use plastic straws and utensils because they were provided, and use plastic bags for the go. But I think it’s safe to say that at this point, this convenience is not a luxury we deserve or can even afford. Plastic is hurting our oceans and killing its creatures.  Instead, it’s not that hard to find a cheap reusable cup somewhere, switch to reusable bags or even wax bags for lunch, bring a metal spoon, and refuse excessive plastic.

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Time to cut ties with plastic