By Melitta Deljanin
I recently turned 18 and was excited about finally being able to vote. Still, it was overwhelming to have to choose between two parties that have opposing views about whether we should do something to reverse the negative effects on the environment. If you’re like me, you are worried about what people in positions of power will do or not do to protect the environment. You may even be wondering why a solution to ocean pollution still evades us and why our efforts to mend the burden of the current ocean pollution state is so slow.
Ocean pollution is a problem because of plastic. In the last 10 years alone, humans have made more plastic than was made in the last century. This is an immobilizing fact, considering that by 2050 the pollution that has affected our fish will be outnumbered by plastic dumped in the ocean. Many of the effects of ocean pollution will soon be irreversible, if nothing significant is done about it. When it comes to regulating our use of plastic bags, many believe that banning plastic is dependent on whether we decide to reuse and recycle. David Allaway, a senior policy analyst at DEQ’s Materials Management Program, believes that the greatest harm plastic produces is when we fabricate the products we consume. In other words, plastic that goes into landfill or gets recycled is not the solution to the problem. Instead, reducing production of plastic items or even stopping production is more likely to reverse the damage created by plastic.
A second pollutant is plastic straws. Watch the 2019 video of a straw getting removed from a sea turtle’s nose. It’s heartbreaking! Almost overnight the video had reached every corner of the world, and plastic straws became a common enemy amongst many. Soon after, the video caught the attention of elected officials and a ban of plastic straws was put into place. We were encouraged to use paper straws. Unfortunately, banning plastic straws did not do much to
prevent ocean pollution. “Plastic straws are only a tiny fraction of the problem – less than one percent,” said Rob Jordan of Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Marine life, as we know it, is still suffering irreparable damage because of other items in our oceans that haven’t even been spoken of. In order to make any significant impact, people need to target the root of the problem.
Clearly banning plastic bags and plastic straws isn’t enough to prevent ocean pollution. However, there is something to be said for creating awareness. Once people find out what helps the most, that information spreads all over the world and people get together to try to do something for the greater good.
Despite the fact that some don't believe that ocean pollution is seriously harmful to the environment, it is a very prominent issue that will affect everyone in the future. Some may even say that this issue is already being combatted. Regardless of these positive changes, there are still otherdangerous pollutants in our oceans that have yet to be addressed. Consequently, there really hasn't been any significant change for the better. Most people can agree that although it is difficult to find a solution, it is common sense when it comes to fighting issues such as pollution. Officials in high positions of power must understand that the root of the cause needs to be attacked, in order to make any significant change. While people wait for these significant changes to happen, however, they can contribute by reducing the number of plastic products that they use, recycling bags and other items, and reusing them when possible. This will really make the world a cleaner, better place before the damage is irreversible.