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Save our oceans

By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than marine life. Plastic has even been found in the Marianas Trench, which is the deepest part of the ocean. There must be steps taken to try and preserve what health is still present.

You may be wondering, “How do people in the Midwest have any effect on the amount of plastic in the ocean?” Considering that there are two major river systems within the Midwest, there is a direct connection to the Gulf of Mexico. This means that all of the trash that is found in the minor river systems within the Midwest states, that flow into the major ones, will eventually find its way to one of the oceans where it collects into mass garbage patches.

It is important to recognize that everyone has a part in limiting the amount of plastic they use regularly. I have included five tips on how to cut plastic usage out of daily life, which are extremely easy to implement.

First is using a reusable water bottle. Studies show that within one year, a 2-liter plastic bottle has a similar carbon footprint to that of a car that has been driven for 500 miles. It is safer for both your health and the environment to switch to reusable water bottles.

A second tip is using your own shopping bags. Many grocery stores have begun to act against plastic bags by putting an extra charge on them, compared to giving a discount if you bring your own.

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Third is the idea of boycotting disposable plastics, such as straws, glasses, or utensils. Since a bulk of plastic usage is found in the kitchen, one idea is to store foods in steel or glass containers rather than plastic ones.

The fourth tip is limiting microplastics, which are plastics that are too small to be filtered out by water treatment facilities. Many products that are used daily, such as toothpaste and face wash, have microplastics in them. Check the ingredients in products before purchasing items that include microplastics.

A final tip is to spread awareness. You have a difference to make in the future of the oceans. To get involved, you can check out the #CleanSeasInitiative or go to https://oceanconservancy.org/.

Sharlee Fopma, Lynnville

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