It’s no secret that plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to our oceans around the globe. After decades of using plastics as an integral part of our life in everyday items like grocery bags, toys, and furniture, it’s hard to think of life without plastics. Plastics, in all forms, may be deemed useful but they also pose a threat to the oceans and living creatures in our environment. However, thanks to people who have compassion for planet Earth, combatting the effects of plastic pollution is not a hopeless case.
Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Program recently conducted the Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition. This inspired hundreds of teens around the world to launch projects that aim to reduce plastic pollution in their local waterways and along their coasts. Among those who participated in this competition were students from Australia, the United States, Canada, Nigeria, India, Vietnam, Pitcairn and more.
An environmental club from Santa Monica High School in California called “Team Marine” won the gold award, which came with a $5,000 prize. The team’s creative campaign involved raising awareness and educating 800 high school freshmen about plastic pollution. They also sought support from their school district to submit a sustainability plan that incorporates “environmental literacy and stewardship into the school curriculum.”Team Marine also created a giant art installation which they made using 600 plastic water bottles. This project aimed to educate over 400 community members about plastic pollution and finding alternatives for using single-use plastics. According to Team Marine member Siri Storstein-Norgaard, their community is are now more committed to reducing plastic pollution since they have a better understanding about the impact human actions can have on the environment.
Siri shared the following with Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs:“From the mom who came back to our booth to show us her purchase of a metal straw to the six-year-old who was disgusted by the video we showed of plastic flowing into the ocean, we saw the difference we were making. This project helped us realize that people from all walks of life are needed to come together to bring about the vital social change necessary to save our oceans.”
Another group that made won the Silver Prize , according to the Good News Network, was “Plastic Free MV”. This group dedicated their efforts to making their community “…the first in North America to ban the sale of both single-use plastic water and soda bottles”. These teens from Massachusetts understand the significant role that oceans play in their fishing and for their island as a whole. Actively participating in beach cleanups made them realize that marine debris and plastics are increasingly becoming detrimental to the oceans. This paved the way for them to write a bylaw banning the sale and distribution of plastic soda and water bottles and other single use plastics. Subsequently, they reached out to their fellow residents for support.
Other participants shared the same goals of pushing for a waste-free lifestyle through their campaigns. They made sure to educate community members and peers about waste management and initiated solutions to reduce plastic waste.Providing a blanket solution to finally end the problem with plastic pollution may not necessarily be the answer to our pollution problems. . Rather, a difference can happen when we compile all of our tiny little efforts as we unite towards one common goal.
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