One of the most inspiring moments I have had in Hawaii so far was when I visited Kamilo Beach. I was shocked at how much marine debris washed up on a single beach, which really put into perspective how much more was in the ocean, as only a small percent washed up on one isolated beach. There are an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, and the real number may be even higher. Plastic debris can take up to 600 years to fully decompose, in the process greatly harming ocean life.
Ocean plastic circulates by the surface currents, accumulating in patches in ocean gyres. One of the most famous of these is the pacific garbage patch, which is an area twice the size of Texas, holding plastic in patches up to 9 feet deep. This plastic decomposes into small micro-plastics, which are often consumed by marine animals. When small fish eat plastic, they cannot digest it, so it bio-magnifies up through the food chain, eventually getting into our food, hurting us as well.
In order to solve this problem, we have to stop polluting and clean up what is already in the ocean. One of the most wasteful things many of us use every day is bottled water. Bottled water is very wasteful not only because it is a single use plastic, but also because of the unnecessary amount of energy required to refine the water in one water bottle. Some say it takes up to 3 liters of water per water bottle to make the packaging along with filling the water. This is a huge waste of water, and extremely bad for the oceans, as up to 50 billion plastic water bottles get thrown away each year. When I go home, I will try to reduce my plastic consumption by always carrying a reusable, non-plastic water bottle so I never have to use bottled water again. If everyone stopped using single use plastics such as water bottles, it would make a big impact on the health of our oceans.