Marsh: Calling on Scottsdale Schools to pioneer reduced plastic use

SUSD, it’s time to eliminate the plastic waste.

Katie Marsh

Did you know that every minute around 12-14 tons of plastic is being swept into the ocean? In fact, according to Jenna Jambeck’s research from 2015, “…at least 8 million tons of plastic are swept into the ocean from coasts every year.” And if this continues, this amount will double by 2025.

The deadly effect plastic waste has on the ocean ecosystem and creatures is terrifying.

The true scope of it is not even comprehensible to our feeble minds. Hundreds of thousands of ocean creatures including whales, dolphins, and turtles are dying from plastic pollution.

Over 1 million seabirds die in a year because of this epidemic. Imagine being entangled in plastic netting and slowly starving to death, suffering as each moment passes because you cannot move, you cannot eat, and you certainly won’t survive.

Imagine plastic cutting into your skin, deep cuts that only hurt more in time from the new infection growing inside you. Imagine being hungry, going to swallow what you thought was food, but turned out to be a death sentence.

Isn’t it sad that this is what we’ve come too? We are capable of a great many things and this is what we’ve chosen to do with that potential.
Sure, plastic is useful, I’m not saying it isn’t. All I’m saying is that, we’ve become dependent.

It is all around us; it’s suffocating us and killing them. Now, I know we can’t get rid of it completely, but can’t we do something? Can’t we at least try, cause I don’t know about you but, I don’t want my future children drowning in the mistakes I’ve made in my life.

I don’t want their future killed just because I didn’t do something.

It’s time to stop ignoring this reality, even if it doesn’t seem to affect you right now. Otherwise, wait and see what mother Earth looks like in a decade. You’ll regret it then.

So the question is, what can our community do? The answer is simple: substitution.

SUSD needs to take action and replace plastic utensils with starch- or plant-based alternatives.

My school has nearly 1,000 students. If only two-thirds of them use a plastic utensil every day, we’re tossing 3,330 deadly pieces of plastic into landfills and into the oceans every week.

That’s 13,320 per month and more than 100,000 per school year. The district has brought in guests to speak about everything from bullying, to smoking, to heart health.

So, why not educate the students on the effect plastic waste is having on their future? Why not make the right move and ditch the plastic spoons? If we act now, Scottsdale Unified School District has an opportunity to lead the way to a brighter, better future for all of us.

So there, I’ve laid it out. I certainly hope that this will be enough.

I refuse to let the world rot away at the seams, for it is utterly beautiful. You teach us to stand up for what we believe in, to stand up for what is right. So here, I’ve done that. Now, it’s your turn to listen, to hear your own message echoed through my voice.

If we don’t act now, your next trip to the beach might feel more like a horror movie:

You drag your feet through the littered sand and look out toward what should be an endless, beautiful expanse of sea. Instead of looking out to see the extraordinary blue of the ocean waves, you see tides of black and gray. You go to wade in the water, expecting to feel the cool water tickle your toes. Your expected happiness is only met with terror as the tar-like water glues you to the waves.

There are thousands of sea creatures turned on their backs, for they have no need for oxygen anymore.

Little did you know, that plastic spoon you threw away earlier, helped kill them all.

Editor’s Note: Katie Marsh is a student at Copper Ridge School.

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