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  • Happy Earth Day from HALO Award Winner Megan Kilroy!

    Posted on 04/22/2010 by Megan Kilroy

    Hey everyone, Happy Earth Day! Today is actually the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which just makes me wonder: what will our oceans look like 40 years from today?

    Right now, every single ocean on the planet is becoming a plastic soup. In fact, in 2008, The Algalita Marine Research Foundation found six times as much plastic in the ocean as zooplankton. Let's talk about what that means:

    Every ocean on the planet is becoming a plastic soup. Why is plastic in the ocean a problem?

    • Sea birds such as the albatross often mistake plastic for food and regurgitate the plastic into their baby chicks mouths. As a result these birds die of starvation because, while they think they are full, their stomachs are simply full of plastic.
    • Other animals such as fur seals often get entangled in floating plastic. The plastic does not break and eventually severs the seals arteries or strangles it.
    • Plastic is not biodegradable. The pieces get smaller when they're in the ocean, but they don't go away.
    How does plastic get into the ocean?
    • Most of the plastic that ends up on the street eventually makes its way to the beach. The majority of municipal storm drain systems are unfiltered and lead into the ocean -- even if you don't live near the ocean.
    • Manufacturers of plastic are not always responsible in the ways that they handle and/or dispose of their products. The nurdeles (the small pellets that are used to produce plastic) are often dropped carelessly in transport and end up in the marine environment.
    What can you do?
    • Instead of getting a plastic bag when you go to the store, bring a reusable bag.
    • Save money and plastic by filling up a reusable canteen instead of buying water bottles.
    • When you get a drink, don't use a straw unless you absolutely need one.
    • If you do use single-use plastic, always remember to recycle it and make sure it never ends up in the street.

    Thanks and have a great Earth Day, everyone!
    - Megan Kilroy

    Megan Kilroy is a 2009 TeenNick HALO Award winner. See what she's been up to since then, nominate someone for a HALO, or find a great organization to volunteer with yourself on our HALO Awards site. - TeenNick