Bonsai

Go Green or Go Home

The Plastic Predicament September 22, 2013

Plastic is a menace to all ecosystems it comes in contact with. Non-biodegradable, toxic, petroleum-based, and easily mistaken for an ocean animal’s prey, it’s ruining our seas and filling up our landfills. The approximated amount of plastic recycled, out of the total plastic produced is almost certainly less than 10%. And do you know what happens to the rest of it? It sits around in a dump for thousands of

English: Ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA...

years, or is taken to the ocean to become yet another drifting patch of garbage. Plastic is not a biodegradable substance. It will break down over many years, but it will never fully go away. The molecules will simply divide and become smaller and more spaced out, until they are spread to other parts of the ocean and the Earth to become more pollution. It takes so many years for even a slight breakdown to occur that there is no difference made, and the plastic continues to pile up. Worse yet, even if the plastic does start to ‘decompose’- though I shouldn’t be calling it that, because it will never fully break down- the particles are then microscopic and harder to locate, especially harder to remove. They go into the water that many sea animals live in and breathe.

Sending the plastic to be destroyed isn’t a much better choice. The incineration of trash releases toxins and chemicals into the air, which create pollution in the air. So no matter where the plastic goes, it’s always a problem. Did you know that breathing the air in Mumbai for just one day is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes? That’s how polluted it is. Plastic and other petroleum-based substances are not only ruining the Earth, but also the creatures living in it. Turtles in the ocean often think that plastic bags are jellyfish and consume the bags, which clogs the airways in their throat and eventually kills them.

Recent developments are being made to create plant based plastics, rather than petroleum based ones. While this will certainly help to stop creating trouble for the ocean, it won’t decrease what’s already there. Thankfully, inventions are being made, and it’s believed that they can help. Take Dutch teenager Boyan Slat’s robotic ocean cleaning invention: it gleans its energy from ocean currents, so it’s sustainable, and it directs plastic particles to collection platforms. The plastic particles will then be recycled in a way that people can profit from it.Dutch Ocean Clean Up Device

Will this fix every plastic problem our oceans face? No. In fact, it’s estimated that only a third will be collected, but it’s a revolutionary solution that’s still going to change a lot for ocean wildlife. However, the robot cleaning devices are just an experiment, say the team of engineers working on them, though they also say that it looks promising. It’s not clear when these cleaning platforms will be put into use, or even if they will be put into use. So what can we do to help?

Ways to Help:

  • Bring a reusable grocery bag to the store with you, and make sure the rest of your family does as well.
  • Recycle as much of your plastic as you can- preferably all of it.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle everywhere. Stop buying plastic ones! If you’re in desperate need of water, and plastic is the only option, recycle that bottle, or reuse it for another day.
  • Talk to your local grocery store about stopping the usage of plastic bags altogether. Be sure to remind them that it will boost their profit because they can also sell reusable cloth bags.
  • If you have a lot of plastic grocery bags already, use them to line small bathroom trashcans. You can also iron a couple of bags together to create a reusable grocery bag.

If we could outlaw the dumping of plastic into our oceans and landfills, companies might be able to sell it to other organizations, such as Terracycle, and they could turn it into recycled products. What do you think? Got any ideas to help?

Ceej

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Shark Finning- The Cruel Industry August 19, 2013

Shark finning is a disgusting way of gathering food, and sadly, it is on the rise. Fishermen will catch a shark, remove all fins for consumption and trading, and throw the shark back into the ocean, dismembered and traumatized. The shark, without its fins, can hardly swim and will sink to the bottom, starve to death, or be attacked by another animal. This is not the natural cycle. It is not the way sharks were meant to live, and most certainly not the way sharks were meant to die. Many people enjoying their shark fin soup are not even aware of the inhumane practices that go into it. According to the Endangered Shark Database, more than 1/4 of all sharks are being commercially exploited, and their survival in the long-term is doubtful. 

English: NOAA agent counting confiscated shark...

 

 

You can help. We here at Bonsai never underestimate the power of a good petition, and in this case, we’ve got plenty for you. You too can add your virtual signature and join the movement to stop shark finning. A large masterlist of petitions can be found at http://www.stopsharkfinning.net/stop-shark-finning-petitions/, and the rest of the website is helpful and fascinating as well. Shark finning is an abusive practice that harms many sharks, including endangered ones, the species of whom are already in danger. You can help spread awareness about shark finning in your community, there are many ways. First of all, you can immediately strike interest in people who have been blind to the practices before whenever you are confronted with shark fin soup. Refusing to eat it and asking others to is a small, but effective way to help. stopsharkfinning.net says, “If local communities realise that they can make more money by conserving sharks than by killing them, then we will ensure the survival of sharks. If you are considering a holiday in a location where there are sharks, you might want to go shark diving. This is a source of income for communities that encourages shark conservation.”

 

 

 

Ocean activities are a large tourist attraction that won’t harm the wildlife. Speak to restaurants offering shark fin soup or marketplaces allowing it to be sold and tell them how it is harming the ecosystem and our oceans. Check out the rest of the Stop Shark Finning webpage for other ideas, if you’re wondering what to do. Together, we can get ban shark finning in as many places as possible, and save the sharks.

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Ceej

 

 
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