Janneth Castillo, Journalist

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  You’re going on a run on a sunny day, you take a big gulp of water from your plastic water bottle and throw it away, but do you ever wonder where that water bottle ends up? Over 100 million marine animals die because of all the plastic in our oceans. It is estimated that there’s at least 100 million tons of plastic in the ocean around the world, and it is expected that 60 billion pounds of plastic will be produced this year. About eighty percent of that plastic comes from land, the other twenty percent comes from rivers.

  The trash washes from our beaches to the ocean and trash flies away from the landfills. Many sea turtles had either a plastic bag or a fishing line in their stomach. There’s a lot of ways to help all of the marine animals, such as reducing marine debris that may entangle or be accidentally eaten by the marine animals. Another way to help is by using less plastic and, when you do use plastic, recycling it after.

  Recycling is one of the ways that society can improve the environment. Bryana Alexandria Supe, a Freshman at Pahrump Valley High School, said “Recycling is necessary because the items that are recycled can be reused and not just thrown away and put the animals in danger.”

  It takes about 500 years for all the plastic to decompose completely. If you recycle plastic, it will take at least 88% less energy than making plastic from raw materials. When you recycle glass the amount of energy that is needed to melt it, is considerably less than that needed to melt raw materials to make new bottles or jars.

A pile of tires at Pahrumps dump. Photo credit to Charles Larssen.

  Littering is very bad for our planet, but do you ever wonder if littering and having a landfill does the same effect to our environment? Samantha Altero, a Major in Environmental Science from Oregon State University, said, “Littering and landfilling do not have the same effect on our planet. By having all of our garbage in multiple large areas rather than people throwing their garbage straight into the ocean, or the desert, it is easier to keep track of.”

A tractor with smoke coming out of it at Pahrump’s dump. Photo credit to Charles Larssen.

   When you throw cigarette butts, plastic bags, fast food wrappers, plastic, and glass on the ground, you can harm or kill animals. Littering does not just harm animals, it can cause car accidents and injuries, smother plants, and start fires. Littering causes so many more problems to our environment and it’s not healthy for us. Landfills do not really cause as many issues as littering to our planet, so it’s recommended to throw your trash in a garbage can instead of just throwing it on the ground. Ocean littering is very destructive as well.

  We can save marine animals, such as sea turtles, fish, and sea birds or even land animals, by recycling and not littering. It’s helpful in reducing the potential danger to animals as well as us.  Sooner or later the world is going to be far more polluted than it is now because of all the trash, so we can start saving our planet if we chose to throw the plastic in the recycling bins or throw the trash where it belongs. Therefore, the next time you decide to just throw a piece trash on the ground think about the impact it can make to our planet.  Do your part to save the planet, one empty water bottle at a time.