A Step Forward

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Plastics are an everlasting problem on our earth. They pollute environments, kill animals, and the production for plastics themselves are very harmful. Throughout the United States, governments and regular people have been trying to make progress to cleaning up the earth and stopping the use of single use plastics. Although there does not seem to be like much progress has been done, there were two bills just approved in California, that now need to approved by Governor Gavin Newsom, that are monumental for the reduction of single-use plastics. These two bills are briefly talked about in an article written by the plastic and ocean cleanup organization, Oceana.

The first bill is Assembly Bill 962. This bill is step forward for reusable bottles in California and hopefully getting rid of single-use plastic bottles. This bills main point is that instead of requiring that glass single-use bottles be crushed for recycling, that they can instead be preserved, washed, and refilled. This will help to reduce glass waste and also allow for more jobs to be provided in California. The urging for people to use reusable glass bottles may also reduce the amount of single use plastics throughout the state. Stated in the same article by Oceana, a 20% increase in use of refillable beverage bottles in place of single-use plastic bottles could keep up to 13.5 billion plastic bottles out of the ocean every year. This would be a huge leap forward in the reduction of plastics use and could also help to kickstart other states to do the same.

The second bill that is trying to be passed is Assembly Bill 1276. This bill focuses on the use of single-use plastic utensils. These utensils, such as forks, spoons, and knives are commonly on the top ten items found at beach cleanups and are often not wanted by the customers ordering the food. This bill is trying to be passed to stop this. The bill proposes that plastic forks, spoons, knives, straws, and condiment packets only be provided to the customer if the specifically request for the items. This would allow for a great step towards reducing the majority of single-use plastics that are most commonly used. Many people do not use nor want the utensils anyways, so the utensils are thrown out without second thought. This bill would help to greatly eliminate this.

This article was written to inform the general public about what is going on in the world. Mainly targeting the Californian citizens, this article was written to push the agenda of reducing single-use plastics throughout the state and throughout the world. This is not a bad agenda though, and hopefully more people around the world will become more aware of their consumption and also push their governments to pass similar bills. Although these bills are not worldwide, they provided a positive outlook and some hope to the people who are following and supporting the banning of single use plastics. With more support and sharing of information like this, we may be able to start a more common movement to help make the earth healthier and clean our environment from plastics.

 

OUR Plastic Ocean

I watched a documentary on Netflix titled, “A Plastic Ocean.” It is a Netflix Original film directed by the Australian journalist Craig Leeson. In this documentary, Craig Lesson set out on a journey to to film proof of a solid mass of plastic waste in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; however, he and his partner, Tanya Streeter, realized that their footage was a lot less solid and a whole lot more micro.

A Plastic Ocean | Netflix

At the beginning of filming, Leeson and Streeter believed that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to be a solid heap of waste. They soon discovered that it is mostly made up of microplastics. Microplastics are just small broken down pieces of plastic that may have been solid at one point. They can be much more dangerous than large plastic waste items because fish, whales, and other marine organisms often mistake them for food. In turn, dolphins, sharks, seals, and other marine predators digest prey that is full of extremely toxic contaminants.

In the filming of this documentary, clips of beautiful and vibrant marine ecosystems are coupled with contrast footage of heavily polluted cities and waterways. This sends viewers the message that our plastic waste is destroying our environment as well as the many environments of our fellow animals. “A Plastic Ocean”¬†also reflects on the inequalities of society and how those inequalities affect pollution in developing countries.

A Plastic Ocean: a film review | - | LearnEnglish

Throughout the documentary, Leeson and Streeter travel to different Gyres across the Earth’s five oceans to film the devastating affects of plastic pollution. They are joined by many world experts on pollution in the gyres, including Dr. Bonnie Monteleone, who joined them in their expedition to the South Pacific Gyre. Along with the team, she collected numerous plastic samples from the South Pacific to quantify the growth of plastic marine debris compared to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Ocean conservation starts at home - Lumina News

Many of the people involved in this documentary are marine conservationists, marine biologists, or marine conservation filmmakers. Therefore, their message is undeniably biased toward protecting marine life and getting rid of plastic. Bias is often seen as having a negative impact when trying to convey a message, but in this instance I believe that their bias allows them to be much more knowledgable. They attempt to study their opinions and biases in a scientific manner instead of basing their message on ideas alone.

This film opened my eyes to the truth within plastic pollution and the immense impact it has had and is continuing to have on Earth. The quantity of plastic that floats on top of the ocean is nearly immeasurable and the effect it has is the same. As an inhabitant of earth, I hope that more people watch documentaries such as these and reflect on their own negative earthly impacts.