Imagine being a fish, turtle, or even a bird flying over the ocean and seeing something shiny that looks like your favorite treat. Naturally, you would venture that direction, snatch it up, and eat it, but WAIT that wasn’t the tasty treat you were expecting. It can be easy to mistake a small piece of plastic for food if you are a bird, fish, or turtle. It has been found that there are plastic pieces in hundreds of species’ stomachs. This includes 86% of all sea turtles, 44% of all seabirds, and 43% of all marine mammals. Eating these plastic pieces can be fatal to these animals. This causes them to not be able to digest their food. As a result, this blocks their digestive tracts. By eating plastic, the chemicals they ingest cause health issues that will eventually work their way up the food chain.
Pollution can last for hundreds of years and scientists are still documenting those effects. There are several states today that are trying to be more conscious about recycling and banning certain objects like foam take-out cups and containers or plastic straws. You can also help by recycling the objects in your house whether that be a plastic bottle, newspaper, styrofoam, or cardboard. If you don’t quite know where to start, feel free to contact your local recycling center for more information and what they accept. Also, you can be more conscious of what you are buying and using! Next time, try purchasing reusable items like steel or glass straws, bags, bottles, and containers.