you’re on vacation. Finally, after months of working, you get some weeks of free time. Your smile is bright as the sun when you realize, that there are no worries which could interrupt this moment of peace. You have now time for yourself and your happiness. With that in your mind, you close your eyes. You feel the prickling sunrays on your skin, letting all your thoughts drift away into a calm daydream.
You dream about yourself as a child. It was the first time, when you went to the beach with your parents. Everything seemed so huge and overwhelming, but also peaceful. The light, turquoise waves are reflecting the sun while causing a tranquil sound. You smile, when your feet touch the cool water. You can see some small, colorful fishes swimming next to you. It was one of the most magical moments in your entire life.
But then, you open your eyes again. That picture of your younger self disappears like sand in the wind. You sigh, as you look around. You’re laying at the same place you played at as a child but it still seems, like you’ve never been here. The tranquil sound of the sea is now more of a moaning. The water that used to be as blue as the sky is now a dark cemetery for dead fish and waste. There’s also no white sand under your feet anymore: it’s been replaced by a colorful mix of plastic straws, bottles and other things people didn’t need anymore.
Now, you’ll probably think, I’m exaggerating, right? That this will not happen, that your children will play in the same kind of paradise as you did? Surprise: it’s not the future I’m talking about right now, it’s the present. The beach full of plastic is real and it’s happening all around the world. Bali, the Philippines and even Hawaii. What was called a paradise on earth is now a trash dump. Look at his plastic island in the Pacific, that they now call the 8th continent! How can some people still believe that this isn’t happening? If you don’t care about the animals dying because of our trash, or the poor people that need to live there as they can’t afford moving away – fine, if you’re as egoistic, alright, I can’t change it. But then, think at least about yourself. While all of this is currently not affecting everyone as much as the people living there, it soon will. You will suffer from this too. Think about that, the next time you sip on your coke, while eating a pack of chips.
What happens after the trash can…
Have you ever thought about, what will happen to your plastic trash, after you’ve thrown it away? It will get recycled, right? Well, in most cases, it’s not. Looking at plastic waste in general, less than 10% is recycled in the US. Compared to that, in China 22% of the waste is recycled. The European Union does best with 39.1% of all the plastic waste being recycled. It’s more than for example in the US but the EU still doesn’t hit the 50%! That means, that the majority of our waste will end up somewhere in nature. Therefore, if we don’t change, we can soon only bathe in the cemetery of dead fish and waste (also known as “sea”) I talked about before.
If you would watch movies like “Plastic Planet” you would realize how serious our situation actually is. And considering that plastic needs hundreds of years to decompose, it will get worse from day to day, from minute to minute.
Time to wake up
You know all of this is true, so stop pretending none of this is happening. Open your eyes and look around, the next time you take a walk in the forest, at the beach or even the street. Be aware of all the waste surrounding you. Count it, if you want. At first, you probably won’t expect such a high number but with time, you will get used to it, as you realize, what we’ve done. Think about all of what I said, the next time you want to buy a bottle of water. And remember: although there is a lot we have to do; awareness is the first step to make a change. So, take the first step, be aware of your waste and always take small and sustainable choices.