So You Want Coffee?
By Leslie Dawe
You walk into a coffee shop, and you pay for a large double double. After your finished with it, you throw it in a garbage can, where it is forgotten and you never think about it again.
But what really happens?
After you put it in the garbage can, perhaps a crow or another creature digs in that garbage to attempt to find food and that cup that you put there gets knocked to the ground. Nobody picks it up, so then it is left there. The wind carries it away, to nature.
In this case, it went to the ocean to be accidentally consumed by whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and even sea turtles and fish. But it is not just coffee cups - it is the food containers from other fast food locations, it is the plastic bags from shopping at grocery stores and convenience stores, and it is the gum wrappers that you thought were so insignificant that you chucked them to the side and forgot about them.
The oceans have had a hard time dealing with the waste. It’s beginning to be a hazard to those who call it home. A sperm whale washed up on a Spain beach and had 64 pounds of plastic and waste in its stomach. According to an article by Andrea Diaz from CNN, “When a young sperm whale washed up on a beach in southern Spain, scientists wanted to know what killed it. They now know: waste -- 64 pounds of it. Most of it plastic, but also ropes, pieces of net and other debris lodged in its stomach.” Also she said, “…washed up on the beach of Cabo de Palos on February 27 was unusually thin. The necropsy results, released last week, listed just some of the items scientists found stuck in its stomach and intestines: plastic bags, pieces of net, a plastic water container… the whale died of an abdominal infection, called peritonitis: It just couldn't digest the waste it had swallowed, causing its digestive system to rupture.”
According to 4Ocean, “Every hour, approximately 1.6 MILLION tons of waste enters our ocean. Yearly, a colossal 14 billion tons of trash ends up in our beautiful oceans. Of this waste, much of it is plastic.” 4Ocean promotes ocean sustainability when they say, “healthy oceans are critical for life on this planet. They provide the food we eat, the oxygen we breathe and their continued health depends on us.” On the 4Ocean website, you can purchase bracelets that fund the clean up of the oceans. There are also bracelets from the Pura Vida bracelet company that also fund the same thing.
New engineering has created a way to help with the crazy amount of plastic by reusing something we cannot get rid of with something that we need to get more of. They do this by replacing most of the bitumen that is used to bind normal roads, with plastic pellets. Bitumen is a material extracted from oil used to bind the other things in pavement. Different countries are removing plastic waste from the ocean to do this, making the oceans cleaner. The roads are proven to be more durable as said on the Futurism website, “these roads are cheaper to make and last longer than conventional roads, and if he’s right, he may be putting us on the road to a cleaner planet.”
In today’s society there is no chance of completely clearing the world of plastic, especially since plastic never goes away. So, the next time you think about getting fast food or taking a plastic bag, think about who else it can effect.
You never know where it will go.