As I’m sure a lot of people know, there is a garbage patch in the middle of the ocean that is about the size of Texas. However, what most people do not know is that in addition to this giant amount of garbage that is polluting our oceans, there is also an large amount of microplastics, small and barely visible pieces of plastic, that sit on the surface of the ocean and pollute the ocean and kill many animals. Sadly, before watching A Plastic Ocean (the whole video can be found on Netflix), I was among the people that did not know about microplastics or did not know about the negative impacts that these small pieces of plastic have on the environment, the animals living there and humans.
A Plastic Ocean is a documentary about a journey that Craig Leeson, a journalist, went on in search of the blue whale. However, once he had found the blue whale, he saw the immense amount of pollution and plastic in the ocean and his focus then shifted from the blue whales to the plastic polluting the ocean. Craig and a free diver, Tanya Streeter, worked together to create this documentary, research the world’s oceans and reveal solutions for this problem.
Through this documentary, I learned a lot about the plastic in the ocean and how it has negatively affected the animals living there. I learned that in one year, people will use and dispose 300 pounds of plastic, that by 2050 plastic production will triple and that only a fraction of plastic is recycled. This means that the majority of plastic is being thrown away and is polluting our Earth and oceans. To put that into perspective, 80% of land based plastic lives in the ocean and 8 million tons of plastic goes into the ocean every year. Considering that the desks in my school are made of plastic, that almost everything that is bottled is bottled in plastic, and that plastic is almost everywhere, I cannot begin to imagine the amount of plastic that is in our oceans. Currently, there is a 1 to 2 ratio of plastic to plankton, and as animals such as whales use plankton as a main food source, it is very likely that they are also eating plastic. I know that many people have seen the images of a sea lion getting stuck in a tire or a turtle eating a plastic bag; however I am not sure that people understand that these things aren’t rare as they are occurring almost daily and that many other things occur as well. The movie really opened my eyes to what is happening in the ocean because of the plastic there and they showed many images of dead seabirds or fish or turtles that died because of the plastic in their stomachs. There was a scene where a woman was looking at the stomach of a dead seabird and even before she had cut open the stomach you could see that it was filled with plastic. The seabird died of starvation as it had eaten so much plastic that its stomach could not take in any real food and could not get the nutrients it needed.
This documentary really inspired me to want to make a change and I think it has that effect on most people as well. I began to pay closer attention to the amount of plastic that I use and see daily and I began to try and change my use of plastic in my life. I was surprised by the amount of plastic that I use and that I didn’t even realize how much plastic I use. After finishing this film, I began thinking of ways that I could reduce my plastic use and one of the ideas that I am hoping to do is to wash ziplock bags so that I can reuse them and utilize re-usable containers for sandwiches and food. I think that this movie is very inspiring and I hope that more people watch it and become inspired to work together to reduce the pollution in our oceans.
After showing my blogpost about this documentary to my mom, we began enacting our ideas and we have not bought any more ziplock sandwich bags and have been washing and re-using the plastic bags that we currently have. We also always have re-usable grocery bags when shopping! What we are doing is just a start, but we hope to keep decreasing our plastic use and hopefully provide some assistance in saving our oceans!
This is a picture of our drying rack where my mom was drying out the plastic bags that she had just washed!
“A Plastic Ocean.” Netflix, http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwislM3TkvXdAhVhyFQKHWQkCDYQjxx6BAgBEAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.netflix.com%2Ftitle%2F80164032&psig=AOvVaw3kNYGOr82VB45K6j1thDiH&ust=1539029727205637.
“The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” Padi, www2.padi.com/blog/2016/09/27/truth-about-great-pacific-garbage-patch/.