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Stop using so much plastic


Sara Bayles collects garbage near lifeguard tower number 28 as part of a 365-day project of documenting trash she's gathered Sept. 2, 2010, in Santa Monica, California. By accident in Japan in 2016, scientists discovered an enzyme that consumes plastic. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Scientists may have found a way to counteract the 9.1 billion tons of plastic that humans have produced from when we began putting plastic in products, up to July 2017.

This use of plastic includes plastic bottles and plastic in our clothing that releases plastic into the atmosphere. 

By accident in Japan in 2016, scientists  discovered an enzyme that consumes plastic. The plastic consuming enzyme is located within a type of bacteria called Ideonella sakaiensis

This is an amazing discovery. To make things better, while experimenting with the bacteria, British and American scientists accidentally created a mutated version of this bacteria that is even more efficient at breaking down plastics. 

While scientists are leading the way to break down plastic, I still believe our usage of plastic should be reduced.

We cannot rely on this bacteria to get rid of all plastic on the planet, and we cannot keep creating mass amounts of waste just because a bacteria can break down the enzymes.

Yes, scientists are looking to produce this bacteria on a mass scale, but now that the option of getting rid of plastic exists, we should be looking for ways to reduce future amounts of plastic so that every 10 years, we don’t have to get rid of another 9.1 billion tons of plastic.

The Euromonitor International's global packaging report predicted by 2021, we will have created more than half a trillion tons of plastic bottles. Despite recycling efforts around the world, barely half of the number of plastic bottles used in 2016 were recycled

The Guardian also reported that between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic are discarded in the oceans.

 By 2050, The Ellen MaArthur Foundation, a British charity focused on creating a restorative and regenerative economy, found there will be more plastic waste by weight in the oceans than the weight of all the fish.

The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is dying. The global temperature continues to rise. It is still snowing the the middle of April here in Indiana. 

If we do not begin to take care of our planet, it will not have enough resources to support us. 

In 2016, Indianapolis did not go through with creating a long-term recycling plan. IndyStar reported 10 percent of Indianapolis households use curbside recycling programs. 

If the idea of worldwide plastic pollution prevention is too daunting, you can start with simple things like recycling your soda and water bottles every day. Buy a reusable water bottle.

Take advantage of Bloomington’s recycling program if you live off campus. Pull apart your plastic rings so fish don’t strangle themselves in them. 

Starting small to help prevent plastic pollution is not difficult and we, as humans, need to do better. 

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