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Hoiyin Ip, Dana Point

September 15 was another record breaking Coastal Cleanup Day. Orange County Coastkeeper reported 44,000 pounds of trash were collected, up from 32,000 pounds last year. Cheers to the community effort!

However, it is crucial to realize what was not picked up, why and the consequences. Most of the trash is plastic. Overtime it breaks down to what is called micro-plastics that are hard to be spotted not to mention nearly impossible to pick up. By gravity, wind or rain, it goes into the waterways and then fish eat it. If it doesn’t kill the fish, chances are we kill the fish and eat the fish. The chemicals in our plastics end up in our bodies. It’s a catch 22.

For our own health and for our friends in the ocean let’s mindfully use less plastic. If you’ve been using reusable shopping bags and water bottles, up your practice to reusable cups and containers. If you’ve been saying no to straws, up your practice to saying no to the little packets of to-go utensils and ketchup. If you’re a consumer, support these eco-friendly businesses. They’re not hard to find: Zinc Cafe & Market, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, … just to name a few.

If fish could speak, I’m sure they would be saying, “Less plastic is fantastic.”

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