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The first “true” school year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has begun and there’s already a ton of littering around the campus of Nashua High School North. Just a few weeks ago, I was enjoying an afternoon walk at the high school I graduated from back in 2010 when I came across a disturbing sight-trash laying all around the campus that comprised everything from plastic wrappings to discarded face masks. It upset me because if any animal, such as a bird, were to come into contact with the trash, they could either choke or die. So, I took it upon myself to pick up whatever garbage I could find with my own bare hands and dispose of them in a nearby trash can.
During my little clean-up, I used my phone to photograph my findings for educational purposes in hopes to raise awareness about this issue on my social media pages. If people asked me what I was doing, I told them I was just trying to help the environment out by picking the trash students and families left behind, either after school or after practice. Once I explained how cleaning the campus can save wildlife, they would thank me for what I was doing before moving on.
The following photographs were taken during clean-ups on August 19th, and August 31st, 2021.
Because of the high school’s close location to Nashua River, any rainstorm can wash the garbage was lies around the land into any waterway that makes its way into the river itself. This is where the journey from land to the sea begins. Let’s say Nashua has a bad rainstorm. The strong winds that might come along with it could be powerful enough to blow the garbage away into any nearby waterway along with floodwaters that might come along with it. From there, the garbage is floating along a stream that leads somewhere into the Nashua River, which flows into the Merrimack River before finally, making its way into the Gulf of Maine, making itself a hazard to not just local birds and fish, but now, to sharks, migrating sea turtles, and marine mammals that might mistake the garbage for prey.
When marine animals play with or ingest garbage, not only they could choke to death on it but also, they could get entangled in it, which could then lead to them suffering from lifelong injuries. They could also starve to death. Yet, regardless, marine plastic pollution is deadly to all wildlife, both on land and at sea. While it may be centuries before we know the full impact marine pollution has on both people and wildlife, research is looking into how it affects small invertebrates that are found in tide pools around the world.
Most plastic-based products are not eco-friendly. In fact, most plastics can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, which means they’ll be hanging around your local park, beach, lake, river, or pound for centuries to come. Some researchers believe that if we don’t address the plastic pollution crisis now, then by the year 2050, there might be more plastics in our oceans than actual wildlife.
Thankfully, there are ways to put an end to our use of marine plastic pollution by doing these simple steps:
- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
- Throw your garbage out in a trash can. It belongs on neither the ground nor the water.
- Invest in eco-friendly products like those available at 4Ocean (Promo Code is ALEX10).
- Take part in a clean-up effort.
- Adopt a coral with Leilani Shells (Promo Code is jennadeedy).
- Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn more about how to be a steward of the environment.
- If you see an animal in distress, please call your local wildlife rehabilitation facility.
For the sake of our oceans, please stop littering. We don’t need to endanger any more wildlife that comes into contact with plastic wastes.
Thank you for understanding,
About the Creator
Zoo and Aquarium Professional, Educator, Cosplayer, Writer and B.A. in Psychology whose got a lot to share when it comes to animals, zoos, aquariums, conservation, and more.