The Pepper Bough

Your lazy decisions are contaminating the ocean

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach

Vanessa Villanueva, Reporter

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Finding Nemo was the first to teach many of us a very important lesson: “All drains lead to the ocean.” While some may have missed it, that does not make it any less significant. We are all impacting the ocean in a very negative way without giving so much as a second thought to it. With the flick of a wrist that it takes for you to send that gum wrapper out of your moving car, the lazily contemplative look you give the garbage that didn’t quite make it into the trash can as you had meant for it to, or with the assumption that others will clean up after you if you leave the remains of your lunch on the table of the quad, in all of these scenarios you are contaminating the ocean.

You may ask how that is possible when you live in Colton. How can you impact the ocean, an area that begins a 90 minute drive from where you are? The answer is simple: all drains lead to the ocean. The recent rain that we have experienced is a great example of this as you may have spotted the unsightly view of trash floating along in the currents produced by the floods, making its way into storm drains. Therefore the trash that someone decided to leave on the street will eventually end up in the ocean.

The issue of marine debris is an urgent one as we have already begun to see the destruction of marine life due to the man made pollution that has made its way into the waters. We are not just dealing with beaches where we can no longer swim but serious issues such as the Pacific Garbage Patch, an accumulation of trash in the pacific ocean that covers an expansive area the size of Texas destroying habitats in the area. There are four more similar phenomena, all around gyres in our oceans, but that still does not account for the rest of the garbage that makes its way into countless of ecosystems everyday.

Our consumption of plastic products and careless disposal of such material has led to negative changes in the oceanic systems. Cases of researchers finding the intestines of birds and marine animals filled with plastics the animals mistakenly eat have become a serious issue as it leads to the offsetting of ecosystems and pollution of both our food supply as well as our water supply. Scientists have stated that by the year 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic than it will fish, which is an astounding thought. Measures are being thought of in order to curb the effect of the garbage present in our oceans. However, not many people are consciously attempting to decrease their personal impact.

The reality is that we are still allowing trash to make its way into our oceans. As inhabitants of this earth, we cannot prosper without a thriving natural environment. So when you see a plastic bottle on the side of the street, recycle it. Make sure you pick up your trash after you miss the free throw you attempted to make into the trash can. Remind people to be conscious of their own litter or even aspire to take part in community cleanups. We will not see a healthy world around us if we do not put the effort forward to change it. So let’s get started.

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Your lazy decisions are contaminating the ocean