Are you Eating Plastic?

Photo Courtesy Of www.bbc.co.uk

Photo Courtesy Of www.bbc.co.uk

Angel Sosa Garcia, Sandpaper Writer

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The ocean is the home to many of the fish that we hunt and eat, but what if I told you that the fish you are eating might have once been swimming in nothing but trash and waste. Most of the fish that are found near the Pacific Great Trash Pile, a zone where plastic is accumulated, is in fact contaminated with pollution and are entering our bodies as we eat them!

How did this happen? Studies show that there is a location in the Pacific Ocean where almost all of the waste that’s thrown into the ocean ends up; this gigantic pile of trash has been sitting in the ocean for centuries and was discovered in 1988. Because of how long this waste has been piling up in this one spot, the “island” is expected to be about the size of Texas. That’s 700,000 Square Kilometers. This means that fish that enter and feed off this can have a difficult time getting out.

The fish are not only being ingested by us, but also by other marine life, which only keeps the cycle going from one animal to another. When the fish eat the plastic they believe that they have been fed for the day but because plastic has no nutritional value, they are likely to starve to death.

How does this affect us, humans? Fish is a major part of our diets and lifestyles. If fish in this area decrease in population too much, then all of the nearby ecosystems (including ours) will suffer heavily. That will be from the decline in food and whatever other function the fish were serving. Not only will we lose all of our fish, but those who eat contaminated fish could be at health risks. Some of the health risks include, but are not limited, to cancer, liver disease, developmental, immune and endocrine system effects.

What can we do to help? We here in the Antelope Valley are relatively close to the ocean, so most of the trash that doesn’t make it to the cans make it to the ocean. So we as a community can help by picking up trash and recycling what we can.

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Are you Eating Plastic?