5 Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution
Updated: Feb 15
By Grace Tseng, Grade 9
For decades, plastic has been produced and disposed of at alarming rates, which has been greatly detrimental to the health of marine creatures and people. Microplastic waste can be found even in the deepest trenches of our oceans and can entangle or be ingested by marine mammals. Approximately 100 million marine mammals die each year as a direct result of plastic waste(1). By the year 2050, it is projected that we will have more plastic in the ocean than we have fish(2). In addition, microplastics in the air are being inhaled by people, contributing to an array of health concerns including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and more(3). With the crisis we are currently facing, it has become increasingly important to be mindful of our plastic usage. Here are five ways you can reduce the amount of plastic waste in your day to day life.
Avoid purchasing single-use plastics: Though it can be convenient to have bottles of water on hand, single-use plastics make up 50% of the plastic waste in the ocean, weighing around 150 million tons(4). Instead, opt for a more sustainable alternative, such as a reusable water bottle.
Practice stormwater management: Microlitter pollution due to surface runoff from streets, parking lots, and roads can carry a plethora of debris into our oceans through stormwater systems and can contribute to up to 95% of litter originating from land(5). By practicing stormwater management, you can help reduce the amount of sediments and pollutants that wind up in our waterways. Planting trees to collect runoff, catching runoff with containers and disposing of it properly, and swapping artificial turf for native plants are a few simple ways you can practice mindful stormwater management(6).
Participate in a beach clean up: One of the easiest ways to reduce plastic pollution is to physically help remove plastics from the ocean. You can join a local organization’s cleanup event, or you can collect plastic waste on your own with your friends and family. Be on the lookout for beach clean up events hosted by Clearwater Innovation!
Support Bans: As of 2021, many municipalities are taking their first steps towards ending plastic waste once and for all by creating bans on single use plastics, bottles, and takeout containers. You can support these policies by signing petitions and informing your community.
Spread awareness!: Keep yourself informed on issues related to plastic pollution, and be sure to remind those around you of ways they can use plastic sustainably. You can begin watching and recommending plastic pollution focused documentaries, host your own beach cleanups, and encourage your friends to sign petitions to support bans.
Cover Photo from Britannica