Toxins cloud the once clear blue sky. Man-made trash clutters the diverse ocean. Chemicals cling to objects. Unnecessary parts of human’s day-to-day lives become others’ mistaken energy as giant claws dump loads of multicolored, misshapen trash into a seemingly deteriorating world.
Just think, you - probably unconsciously - made the decisions to contribute. And it may never end, because you, and I, and millions of other people continuously let large amounts of garbage slip through their hands every day.
On the evening of June 23, Emily Kolodge and Karola Dalen of Carlton County Zoning and Environmental Services showed a video and talked about the unnecessary waste people create.
The hour-long “Plastic Paradise” video revealed the increasing consequences beneath the human population’s frequent use of plastics.
Whether it be hard plastics or soft plastics, the man-made material can be found in and on nearly everything. Each year, the world - let alone the U.S. - produces increasing amounts of plastic products. Many problems arise from trash and plastic production because "what we throw away doesn't go away."
Pounds upon pounds of plastics roam streets and waters. Huge gyres (big masses of water concentrated with plastics and trash accumulated through circulating ocean currents) exist in multiple locations around our world's diverse ocean waters.
But what may be even worse are the chemicals that potentially cling to the plastics. Toxins such as BPA, PAH, and PBT come from many different sources and are attracted to plastics.You may not realize it, but these chemicals are floating in the ocean, contaminating your food, and even you directly.
In other words, the problem isn't just plastic pollution but the chain reaction that follows.
As of now the plastic situation isn't improving significantly. The constant increase in America’s production of plastic is mostly the consumer’s responsibility. Millions of individuals contribute to this never-ending production cycle. But it's those same individuals who can choose to change what they purchase and create an impact.
In a post-video discussion about how this plastic problem can change, an audience member said “it's a matter of monkey-see, monkey-do.”
Given how large and troublesome plastic pollution is becoming, taking small steps and leading by example is the best way to progressively improve. Some cities and states, such as Minneapolis and California, have banned plastic bags. As a result of their action, other places are considering banning the heavily used bags.
As for things you can do, Dalen and Kolodge suggested using reusable items such as BPA-free water bottles, glass or metal containers (instead of plastic Tupperware), and reusable cloth grocery bags.
Carlton County has potential to become less dependent on plastics, but nothing will change unless individuals take the initiative.
"People can get as involved as they want," Kolodge said.
As they planted facts and images of plastic's harms along with new ideas to improve, Kolodge said, "we just wanted to raise awareness about the problem with plastic."