Plastic Oceans and Streams – Why are we polluting our planet?

in Sustainability - 3 min read
plastic oceans and streams

This chapter in history isn’t starting so well – species extinction, melting glaciers and climate change, polluting our planet, gluttony and famine, plastic particles and microfibers ending up in our waterways ending up in our drinking water and in our food…

But we are writing our story, and if we take action, starting now, we still have a chance to work on a happy ending!

There is no good place to begin cleaning up the grand mess we, as a society, have made from bits of broken and shredded plastic. Yet the land by the water is a flexible starting line, and at least from here we can prevent such floating plastic boats from making it further downstream.

Here in Breb, Romania, we are starting to clean up our section of the creek. As we live upstream from the village, we are spared from the wrath of unloved garbage that piles up, year after year, in the bends of the snaking creek… There is more than a decade of domestic refuse littering these hills, dumped into flowing water that no longer supports the life of fish and other creatures essential for biodiversity in the landscape.

For some people, plastic is a material that is tossed on the ground with little thought, almost without a care as to where it lands, and with zero regard as to how long it will remain there – on the ground or whisked away by the breeze into the water. There is no thought of zero-waste, just zero-garbage-bin.

Plastic is a cheap product of mass consumption, over-consumption and big business. In some instances it is practical, but the amount that we have created (in water bottles alone?!) – how is that a sustainable solution? Do we really need to cover the world in Lego pieces, sporks and candy wrappers?

The price we pay for cheap materials is the debt that we will pay later on, or rather that our kids will pay in the future. The cheap price of plastic is not a true cost, it is an advertised and subsidized one.

Could you try to live without plastic for a day, for a month, for a year?

It’s hard, because it is everywhere. It covers our food, it holds our drinking water, our medication, we wear it to stay dry, we use it to transport objects because it is lightweight. Even in the deep of nature, there is plastic to prove our existence and the many miles that we are willing to take it with us – for our convenience.

Remember the last hurricane or flood? It is devastating to watch people lose their homes and their livelihoods, but have you ever considered the environmental damage that occurs when cars, oils, chemicals, along with everyone’s clutter is swept back out into the sea?

plastic pollution

Climate change is not the case of nature being against us, it is about us recognizing our harmful behaviors and adapting to the situation.

We are the culprit.
We are the destroyers.
We are the ones polluting our oceans, our home, our planet.

Who is to blame for the much stuff (plastic, glass, metal, and so on…) that gets tossed out? You, the companies that create it, the advertisers?

Advertising has become so developed that we think we need things to be happy, to keep up with the trends. Manufacturers have become increasingly clever, offering us options beyond our imaginations, at prices that we can just afford.

Many of us fall for those suggested desires – hook, line and sinker. With the flip of a wrist, or the swipe of a thumb we are drawn into a perceived lifestyle of consuming more than we need. Yet we already have enough!

So, it is up to you, after all, to limit your consumption and start cleaning up the rest – as if it were your home: because it is.

How do you limit your plastic consumption? Do you pick up garbage when you go hiking? We’d love to hear about it, so we can give you the praise you deserve!

Cheryl Magyar

Cheryl is a freelance writer and content creator on all things related to simple living, ecological minimalism, organic gardening and foraging. She is the co-creator of the Earth Gratitude Journal, a monthly downloadable journal that focuses on having greater appreciation for living on this incredible planet.

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