Essay on Plastic Pollution: How to Reduce Your Plastic Footprint



What inspired me of taking action was turtles. I was on social media when I saw a video of a turtle bleeding from its nose, caused by a plastic straw. It made me wonder what I can do as an individual, making change not only in my family but also in school and Qatar  Foundation. My sister was also aware of this problem and wanted to take action as a team.

I’ve always wanted to take action but never knew how to start and I never thought that I can make a difference alone. When I first talked to my school principal about stopping the plastic straws in the school cafeteria, I realized that this is what I can start with. That this can be my first step into taking action. After that happened, I realized that I might not be able to work alone, but instead I can be a role model for people that don't believe they can make a difference. “Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic gets into the ocean, and scientists estimate that there may be as much as 110 million tons of plastic trash in the ocean.” Schlossberg, 2017

When I went to France this summer, I saw that it was normal to not use plastic straws in restaurants. I visited a small town and there was a little shop that I fell in love with right away. The shop had all types of different ways to help the environment, and that's where I bought my reusable straw and reusable bottle. When I first had my reusable straw, I didn't want to stop there. So I continued into making small differences in my daily routine and that's when I realized that this can make a big difference in my life. 

Small Actions that I’ve Made 

I started using a reusable straw in my drinks and I take it everywhere I go. I’ve talked to my school principal about using plastic straws in our school cafeteria and that has stopped. I’ve talked to my school principal and IT technician about converting Google to Ecosia on our school computers. Ecosia is a web page that is the same as Google. Except for every 10 searches, the company plants a tree and so far they have planted 71 million trees in different parts of the world. I bought reusable bags for grocery shopping.

My family has stopped using plastic water bottles at home. I use a bamboo toothbrush (this can last 4-5 months instead of 1 toothbrush per month). My father collects plastic bottle caps and sends them to a company that melts them and creates prosthetic legs and arms.

I’ve been talking about this problem at home and trying to stop plastic in general. For example, both my sister and mother also use reusable straws, and my whole family uses reusable bottles. I recently got a portable glass mug that I take out whenever I want coffee instead of using non-recyclable cups.

What Needs to Be Done

Small actions that we make can turn into big changes. Imagine how many straws you've used your whole life. You can easily stop that and start using a reusable straw. Four types of turtle species are extinct as a result of the plastic straws and bags in the ocean. If we stop using plastic, eventually companies will stop making plastic products. Before the 1900s, humans lived without plastic. If they did it back then, then I’m pretty sure that we can do it now. My goal is to stop all the plastic in Qatar Foundation by the end of 2020. So let’s work together as a team to make it happen.