The Wrangler

A Polluted Home

Allie Steward, Photojournalist

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How often do you visit the beach? Living in Southern California, it is easy to hop in a car after school one day and drive to the beach for a few hours. Lucky for us, our beaches stay clean and beautiful on the surface; we hardly ever see large amounts of trash lying around. What we don’t see, however, is the dangerous amounts of pollution that fill our oceans today. More and more animals are becoming extinct or put on the endangered species list because of this atrocity.

Although trash is a huge factor in polluting the ocean, one of the main reasons for ocean life dying is due to the oil that is dropped from cars, planes, boats, etc. This oil, though it may be miles away at first, does eventually make its way back to the ocean.

The biggest factor that we as people can help correct and prevent is the issue of littering. Many people do not realize how even the littlest piece of garbage can affect thousands of animals. At the beach, it is easier to see how littering will directly affect our sea. While in school or at home, or even miles inland from the beach it is much harder to visualize our trash polluting the ocean. Everything that gets dropped in a drain, flushed, and kicked into sewers has to have somewhere to go. It would be nearly impossible to keep all trash out of the ocean, however, there are many things that can be done to prevent the amount we have right now.

Recently a whale beached and inside its body was found thousands of pieces of garbage. Sea life does not typically understand the difference between trash and food. A sea turtle often mistakes plastic bags for jellyfish. Once the turtle swallows the bag, they choke. Olivia Steward (9) says “it is so sad to see new animals on the endangered species list because of our trash and waste, we should do everything possible to keep these animals habitats safe.” How are plastic bags ending up in the ocean? One possible explanation would be the wind. Even people who try very hard to clean up trash and not litter can’t help somethings fly away with the wind. Wind also can carry trash for miles; it gets picked up one place, dropped in another city, and swooped up again until it gets stuck, a person finds it and throws it away, or it ends up in the water. Just in Los Angeles, about 10 metric tons of plastic waste make their way into the Pacific Ocean (Eco Watch).

Nonpoint source pollution is runoff from daily human activity. This is a very common source of pollution and though it may not be able to be stopped, it should certainly be slowed down. Another factor is natural sources such as toxins coming from plants and animals on land.

There are so many reasons for ocean pollution. While it would be amazing, it will be nearly impossible to stop all pollution, however, there are some things we as humans can do. Using soaps and cleaners that are less harmful to the planet is a great place to start. These poisons can get swept away in other water sources and ultimately stopped off in our ocean. Also, the easiest task for everyone, just pick up your trash. Pick up someone else’s trash, volunteer to help clean a beach, do whatever you can to salvage our sea before it’s too late.

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