Three Ways You Can Help Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution
Plastics we use every day that don't make it into the appropriate recycling or garbage cart or are carelessly discarded on the side of the road can enter our waterways. Once there, plastics travel from creek to river and river to ocean. In fact, rivers are the main transportation source of plastic pollution to our oceans. Everyone can help reduce plastic pollution by stopping new plastics from entering our waters.
Why are plastics a water pollution problem?
Plastics don't naturally break down. Plastic pollution is not only the water bottles, plastic bags, and items you can see, but micro-plastics that are created as these plastics are broken into smaller pieces by thrashing ocean waves and the sun. These small fragments are toxic, float in the water, and absorb other harmful chemicals like flame retardants and pesticides that have also been released into the environment, concentrating them. Micro-plastics enter the food chain when they are eaten by marine life and are eventually consumed by humans. Our bodies cannot easily break them down, and they may increase health risks.
Besides that, who wants to see our waterways and beaches littered with plastic water bottles, straws, and bags everywhere? It doesn't make for a fun fishing, kayaking, or beach trip, especially when you are swimming and an old floating plastic bag rubs up against your leg.
Three Ways You Can Help
- Join Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful at any one of their cleanup events, or you can help by picking up any trash you see before it ends up in our rivers.
- You can also help just by recycling correctly. Recycle plastic bottles, tubs, and jugs, and don't litter. This will keep more plastic out of the environment and in the economy.
- Lastly, you can sign up today at ReduceYourUseTampaBay.org to make a commitment to reduce your single-use plastic consumption, such as switching to reusable water bottles and bags. This is the most impactful way you can help.
To learn more about plastic pollution and how to correctly recycle plastics in Hillsborough County, contact the Recycling & Waste Reduction team. They are happy to answer your questions or give a presentation to your business, school, or community group.