Sept. 15 was another record-breaking Coastal Cleanup Day. Orange County Coastkeeper reports 44,000 pounds of trash were collected, up from 32,000 pounds last year. Cheers to the community effort!
However, what’s crucial is to realize what was not picked up, why, and the consequences. Most of the trash is plastic. Overtime it breaks down to microplastic, which is hard to be spotted, and nearly impossible to pick up. By gravity, wind or rain, it goes into the waterways. Then fish eat it. If it doesn’t kill the fish, chances are we kill the fish and eat the fish. The chemicals in our plastics end up in our bodies. It’s a catch 22.
For our own health and our friends in the ocean, let’s mindfully use less plastic. If you’ve been using reusable shopping bags and water bottles, up your practice to reusable cups and containers. If you’ve been saying no to straws, up your practice to saying no to the little packets of to-go utensils and ketchups. If you’re a food service business, consider serve-on-request or encourage bring-your-own. If you’re a consumer, support eco-friendly businesses. They’re not hard to find: Zinc Cafe & Market, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, just to name a few.
If fish could speak, I’m sure they would be saying, “Less plastic is fantastic.”
Hoiyin Ip, Dana Point