The boy scout motto to leave it cleaner than how you found it, or the movement to up one piece of litter a day are nice sentiments, but not highly enough practiced.
According to The New Plastics Economy report there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050.
When most people go to the beach, they take in the mid-day sun and the sunset views. For me, I take a bag and fill it up. And then I keep filling it up. Soda bottles, a rogue flip flop, a child's plastic bucket, straws, and tiny pieces of plastic assortments fill up my bag. And no matter how much I pick up there always seems more work to do, because of the hundreds of people who visit a beach in a day, they all seem to leave a few things behind. And that adds up.
Clearly all that junk is streamlined into the ocean, but the New Plastics Economy statement made me ponder, "How does trash get to the ocean?" A few internet searches later and I had a satisfying enough answer: storm drains and sewers.
Apparently it all adds up. And it continues to add up.
I think the mentality is such that even well intentioned people think, “My actions are so small...” and reason that environmental blame belongs elsewhere. Or, they don’t think very much about their actions and their greater effects at all.
City's like San Francisco have taken more direct action to elevate inevitable littering that is bound for the ocean: they've banned plastic bags, styrofoam and plastic straws.
When governments make wide-sweeping bans like those noted above I jump for joy. But what about all the other places. Litter on the other side of the world becomes a conglomerate problem.
Stories like The Goby Statue - a fish sculpture on the beach that functions as a trashcan and makes throwing trash away fun - make me happy. People are finding joy in picking up after themselves. I can't scour all the beaches all on my own and if a fish sculpture helps everyone do their part that inevitably makes an immediate impact on that area's pollution but also, and this is what I think is most important, it creates an awareness, and hopefully a habit that will carry on into daily practices. Just like a whole lot little actions done mindlessly got us into this pollution mess, it's likely a whole lot of little actions done intentionally will, at the very least, make a dent in stopping it.
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