STUDENT VIEWS: Work to save our oceans


Eighth grade students in teacher Allie Browe’s English Language Arts classes at Clarkston Junior High School are writing activism articles in their argument writing unit, and we’re publishing some of their top articles. This week, Meghan Allen discusses cleaning up the oceans.
More than 4.8 million metric tons of plastic get dumped into the oceans each year. This is what animals which live in these oceans have to swim in everyday. This is what animals mistake as their food. This is what we call the “shining” seas. How did the citizens of America allow this to happen?
First, most of the things we buy use disposable plastic: packaging, cosmetics, straws, even fishing nets. Many plastics are designed to be used only once, which resulted in our landfills and beaches being awash in these single-use plastics.
We need to start helping our oceans instead of hurting them, and to do this, we need to take immediate action. America should ban the use of plastic bags in order to help prevent the oceans from becoming polluted.
Many people are aware trash is getting into the oceans. I have been educated on this topic since second grade, but not many understand most of the trash is a form of plastic we use every day. We cannot just sit there and watch the oceans fill up with plastic. Everyone needs to contribute to recovering our oceans. We can do it, and there are groups already helping.
For example, Ocean Conservancy teamed up with cleanup coordinators to clean up along the waterfront of a beach in New York after a storm. Despite less-than-ideal weather conditions on that December day, more than 70 volunteers scoured the sand and dunes at Jones Beach removing 2,000 pounds of debris.
We need to continue this trend. If American citizens continue to clean up the shores and the oceans, we could decrease the amount of trash and return the oceans to their original state. Nobody wants an ocean of trash, so if we inspire more people to help the cause, then I believe we will have clear, shining seas again. No matter what, the cleanliness of our planet should be one of our top priorities because we don’t have another one to go to.
Another reason why our oceans are full of plastic is because we are not understanding what happens to the plastic when it gets in the ocean.
For example, according to National Geographic, the amount of debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch accumulates because much of it is not biodegradable. Many plastics, for instance, do not wear down; they simply break into tinier and tinier pieces.
We can’t let plastic get into the water at all. It is hurting the ocean’s ecosystem. By letting plastic get in the ocean and letting it break into tinier pieces, we are creating an ocean surrounded in plastic. This needs to stop before matters become even worse.
The plastic in the ocean also hurts the animals, not just our planet and the climate. Marine researcher Charles J. Moore wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed plastic pollution in the ocean may be killing more animals than climate change.
“Hundreds of species mistake plastics for their natural food,” he wrote, not only sickening wildlife but also “adding to the increasing amount of synthetic chemicals unknown before 1950 that we now carry in our bodies.”
We are allowing animals to eat the plastic we carelessly throw in the ocean. Animals who live in the ocean are eating the plastic and dying because of us. If we let plastic continue to get into our oceans this could lead to the extinction of several animals.
I realize banning plastic bags may be difficult, and some Americans may not believe it is the best solution because they use plastic so much, and it is convenient. What they fail to realize is that reusable bags are cheaper and last longer than plastic bags, and it helps to prevent pollution.
I know that no one really wants to live or swim in an ocean full of plastic, and neither do the animals so if we start treating our oceans with care, we could save the oceans’ ecosystem and ourselves.
In conclusion, it is our job to take care of our planet and the animals, and by banning plastic bags, we are one step closer to returning the oceans to their original state. Without a doubt, following through and banning plastic bags will allow the animals to live longer, and allow us to enjoy our shining seas, like we used to.

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