Plastic Ingestion

Plastic ingestion occurs commonly in marine environments that are polluted with plastic products. Within these environments, many marine organisms mistake these plastic pieces for their common food source (such as plankton or jellyfish). When these organisms ingest plastic pieces they begin to build up and cause blockages in their digestive systems, often leading to death. These plastic pieces not only build up in their digestive systems, but they also leech harmful chemicals into their fats. Because we depend on fish as a vital part of our diets, this is an alarming fact that we can’t avoid. When we consume fish that have ingested plastic, we are exposing ourselves to the chemicals that store within their fats. As we continue to allow plastic pollution into our oceans, we are continuing to add to the probability of exposing ourselves to harmful chemicals. However, many feel that removing plastic products from their daily routines would be very difficult. If we begin to realize that we are not only having a large impact on the environment, but on our health as well maybe we can see the importance of cutting down on these unnecessary products. I plan to incorporate these facts into my curriculum when presenting to classes in my area, for my capstone project. For this project, I will also be promoting Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics Program. This program’s mission is to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environments by raising the awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and recycling of plastics all together. There is a common misconception that recycling our plastic products is all that we have to do to protect our environment, however it is important that we take the time to think about where our plastic products go when we recycle them. Not all trash makes its way to the recycling center. Often plastic products blow away from trash bins or transportation trucks, eventually ending up in our watersheds. If we vow to cut down on plastic products all together, we are dealing with the issue of plastic pollution at the source.

I vow to cut down on my dependence on single use plastic products, do you?

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