Dear Editor:

Seeing a seagull filled with plastic trash is normal now. Seeing an ocean or beach filled with plastic trash is normal now too. However, this should not be normal.

In a given year, according to Scientific American, 8 million metric tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans. Not only does this plastic ruin the ecosystem, but it also causes health problems in animals that live in the ecosystem. Many animals cannot differentiate between plastic trash and food; therefore, they eat the plastic trash thinking it is actual food. While the problem of plastic pollution was bad before COVID-19, the issue only got worse during the pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, using disposable face masks and gloves has become the norm. Rather than buying reusable masks and gloves, some people choose to buy disposable ones that are thrown away after being used for a day. This, in turn, increases the amount of plastic we consume and makes the original problem worse. 

If we hope to solve this problem, we need to put an end to global plastic pollution, and one key way of doing this is by urging policymakers to consider and pass bills dealing with decreasing plastic pollution.

Meenatchi Odaiyappan

University of California Riverside student

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