Daisy the sea urchin, here! Plastic is a major problem for us ocean-dwelling creatures. Creatures of all shapes and sizes are affected by plastic. It is often confused for food by a wide variety of animals - from fish to whales to birds. Once eaten, plastic releases toxins into the animal's body, which from there makes its way up the food chain. One fish eats plastic; that fish is eaten by another fish, which is eaten by another fish. Eventually, the plastic toxins make their way up to the ocean's top predators and even to humans! When plastic isn't being eaten, it drifts around the ocean, tangling up more creatures, either starving or suffocating them. Plastic can destroy our reefs, too! It can drift into corals, breaking off their branches. Plastic is one of the biggest problems our oceans face, and you can help! Below are just a couple of ways you can reduce your plastic waste, and save the sea:
Say "No Thank You" to Plastic Straws.
Plastic straws may not seem dangerous, but once they reach the ocean, they can become a serious problem. A huge number of them are being used. In the United States alone, humans use over 500 million straws every single day. Because they are so small and lightweight, they often blow out of landfills or trash cans, making their way into rivers and storm drains, which both lead to - you guessed it - the ocean. You can reduce your impact by refusing to use plastic straws, especially at restaurants and coffee shops. Or, if you're a serious fan of straws or have to have one to drink properly, you can consider investing in a reusable straw.
Use a Re-usable Bag for Shopping.
This is already standard practice for many people out there, but it's worth repeating. A single plastic bag can last for hundreds of years without breaking down. That means, the plastic bags you put your groceries in will last a lot longer than you will, but if you replace them with reusable grocery bags, you can help keep ocean animals safe!
Swap Your Plastic Bags Out for Tupperware or Glass Containers.
When your packing your lunch for work or school, don't use throwaway plastic bags. Many times, plastic sandwich bags are a go-to for to-go meals, but they are dangerous for ocean creatures. You could always replace these items of convenience with glass containers or tupperware (which while they are still plastic, you can use them much longer, and still cut down your plastic use).
Don't Throw out Your Toothbrush.
Tooth brushes are plastic too, and we don't hold onto them for very long. Many dentists will recommend that you replace your toothbrush every three months, but that toothbrush can continue on for much longer than that. Instead of tossing your old toothbrush, consider reusing it. Toothbrushes can be used for cleaning a variety of things - grout lines, tennis shoes, and even aquarium decorations!
Get Your Hands on a Re-usable Water Bottle.
This is perhaps one of the easiest changes you could make in your life to save the ocean. Plastic water bottles are always making their way to the sea, and this can be easily avoided by keeping a reusable water bottle to re-fill.
Take note of all of the one time use plastics in your life. They are everywhere! And keeping them out of our oceans may seem like an impossible task, but even the smallest of changes make a big difference. If we all work together, we can keep our oceans clean and our planet healthy.