Plastic Pollution

Ballard-4 A few weeks ago we went kayaking at golden gardens! We kayaked around searching all over for trash in the Puget Sound luckily, we didn’t find any! Half way between the shores of Golden Gardens and Bainbridge Island we linked our kayaks together and discussed what happens to plastic in the ocean, the 5 gyres, how plastic doesn’t biodegrade and how it poses a significant threat to the health or sea creatures. In the ocean, plastic and other non biodegradable materials are moved by a system of rotating currents called a gyre. The 5 major gyres take place in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. These gyres move the material in a spiral, eventually creating a large gathering of debris called a garbage patch.The largest garbage patch is located in the North Pacific gyre right off our coast, and is estimated to be even bigger than Texas! While we cannot clean up garbage patches, we can easily prevent them from getting bigger.

Plastic whether used in packaging food or employed as components in the automotive industry has become an essential manmade material in our everyday lives. Plastic typically constitutes our daily routine in water bottles and grocery bags; even in our personal hygiene, plastic microbeads are used in soaps and toothpastes. Eventually, these plastics reach the ocean and harm sea life.Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, so where does it go? The sun breaks it down into microscopic pieces that look just like plankton to fish and other types of marine life. Marine animals frequently mistake the plastic for food, and can cause a variety of medical issues with most leading to death. Animals also become entangled in larger plastic items, such as plastic bags or soda rings.There are also many other pollutants that we can’t always see such as chemical pollutants that are diluted into the Ocean.

It is important that we do our best to improve the environment and remember what it is we are protecting. What better way to do that then to enjoying a day in the sun and on the water. Use these warm summer days to experience the beauty of the outdoors and remember that you deserve it for all the work you have done to help protect it!

After our kayaking we did a small beach cleanup. Luckily, Golden Gardens park is well maintained by Seattle Parks and Recreation and there wasn’t as much trash to pick up.The ocean is more polluted than we think. Just because we can’t see trash doesn’t mean it isn’t there. After learning all this about plastic, who wouldn’t want to help save our beloved Oceans? Fortunately, there are simple daily actions that can help reduce plastic waste.

● Remember the three Rs Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! The three Rs are an easy way to help reduce any type of waste in our Oceans. Reduce means buying items with no/little packaging and finding ways to prevent buying or using plastic in the first place. Reusing means using the same item again instead of a new one, such as a reusable water bottle or shopping bag. Recycling is for when an item is past the point of reuse. Many materials are recyclable, such as plastic, paper, glass and aluminum. And it’s as easy as throwing your empty plastic water bottle in the blue bin outside your house!

Educate others this is the easiest and most important step to protecting our Oceans. By sharing the information you have learned in this post to others, you are spreading awareness and inspiring others to conserve as well. If one person can stop using plastic water bottles, imagine what would happen if they inspired ten other people to do the same. That would keep hundreds of plastic water bottles from ending up in landfills or the Ocean! Ballard-2 Ballard-5

Categories Science

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