The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Opinion: Californian candidates should support removing plastic from our oceans

The ocean being consumed by lots of plastic and waste.

Californians running for office should support removing and cleaning plastic out of the ocean.

According to Our World in Data, there are 1.7 million tons of plastic in our oceans. This is around the same weight as 425,893 average Asian elephants. Think about that.

I know we have all heard about the term “climate change”. But what is climate change? How is this phenomenon just happening now? According to United Nations Climate Action, climate change is a long-term weather pattern that determines the overall climate of our planet. One of the main causes of climate change is the increase in greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, which include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide thanks to human activities.

Data shows how much plastic and waste ends up in the ocean. (Our World in Data)

According to the European Union, “some [greenhouse] gases in the Earth’s atmosphere act a bit like the glass in a greenhouse, trapping the sun’s heat and stopping it from leaking back into space and causing global warming.”

OECD’s data states that plastic releases around 3.4% of the world’s carbon. Due to all this carbon being released, more and more heat is trapped in our atmosphere. This is called global warming, which is also a contributing factor to climate change.

Our World Data shares that around 0.5% of our plastic waste ends up in the ocean. Although 0.5% may not seem like a lot, you have to remember there are 350 million metric tons of plastic waste in the world. So if you really think about it, 0.5% is a LOT of plastic.

Turtle trapped in 6-ring plastic drink carrier. (Inhabitat)

Plastic in our oceans is a huge problem. Not only because they emit so much carbon, but also because they are endangering our sea life. Clean Water Action says, “In the ocean, plastic debris injures and kills fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Marine plastic pollution has impacted at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species.” I know almost everyone has seen a picture of a sea turtle or some animal trapped in one of those six-ring plastic drink holders. It’s a very sad sight to see. An animal being tortured by our doings. 

Fortunately, there is a company that has come up with a solution to remove some of the plastic from our oceans. The company, Ocean Cleanup, has been cleaning the ocean for over 10 years. Ocean Cleanup states, “[We’ve] been researching, extracting, and monitoring plastic pollution in oceans and rivers globally – with millions of kilograms removed to date.” Ocean Cleanup uses a floating barrier that is towed between two boats. The barrier is 1.4 miles long. This barrier stops trash and collects it into their nets to prevent waste from getting away. According to Vox, some marine biologists believe this approach can kill sea creatures. Ocean Cleanup argues that the boats go at very slow speeds to ensure they collect all the waste and minimize negative side effects such as endangering sea life.

Californian candidates should promote this solution to show voters that plastic in the ocean is a severe problem of today and the future. For the 2.2 million sea species that call the ocean home and the 8.1 billion people who enjoy the beach, ocean clean-up is a vital issue California candidates must address. 

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About the Contributor
Hollin White
Hollin White, Beat Editor/Social Media Manager
Hollin White is a sophomore and first-year journalist. He enjoys writing about local and campus news. He wants to improve his writing and create interesting articles. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends while skating and exploring new places.

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