Published : Friday, June 15, 2018 | 11:17 AM
Can a single beach cleanup or small lifestyle change make a difference in the fight to end plastic pollution?
This May, Tzu Chi USA’s Collegiate Youth Association teamed up with Heal the Bay to uncover the answer to that question. With a team of 68, volunteers of all ages helped pick up what became multiple bags of trash littered along a small stretch of Venice Beach.
As a committed defender of environmental protection, Tzu Chi USA has an obligation to address one of the greatest crises of our time: plastic pollution. This was also the theme of the UN-established World Environment Day, held on June 5th, with the goal of raising awareness about ocean pollution and the detrimental effects it’s having on our world. Read more here about What You Need to Know (and Can Do) About Plastic Pollution. To combat the issue, we’ve compiled resources that include where to find a beach cleanup no matter where you live in the US as well as some simple lifestyle tips.
While it’s true that municipalities around the world try hard to keep trash disposal in check, plastic debris from shorelines and communities often freely drift off into the ocean or larger bodies of water without a filtering mechanism. Once in water, plastic products and other pollutants like styrofoam take anywhere up to 500 years to breakdown, potentially ensnaring unsuspecting wildlife in the process and, at its end, breaking down into tiny bits called microplastics (which ultimately taint our water supply and get ingested by marine life and humans alike).
Moreover, photographic evidence alone of plastic pieces in the digestive system of birds, whales, turtles, and more tells us that even picking up one plastic bag, a plastic fork, or even a bottle cap, can make the difference between life and death. To help clean up and remove trash in the ocean, you can pitch in as early as June 16 in Venice Beach. Help Beat Plastic Pollution at These Cleanups Near You features a complete list of inland and beach cleanups to volunteer at near you, as well as tips to organize your own. Yet, there are other ways to help that matter, too.
In fact, we can all take small to big steps to reduce plastic pollution in our daily lives. In Things You Can Do to Reduce Plastic Pollution, we prove it doesn’t have to take grand gestures to do one’s part for the environment. One million plastic beverage bottles are purchased around the world every minute. You can help reduce those numbers by using your own reusable bottles and make an impact on the roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic garbage that enters our oceans every year.
You can help make a difference. Use the above resources to get started and help quash projections that we will have as much plastic in the ocean as fish by 2050. The livelihood of our oceans, communities, families, friends, and generations to come depends on it.