Plastic is problematic! Did you know only about 10% of the plastic we use is properly recycled and reused? Because 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year to make bags, bottles, packages, and other items, (literally) TONS of plastic are polluting our precious waterways and beautiful countrywide.
In this week leading up to Earth Day on April 22, we’re going to hear a lot about plastic pollution. There are efforts underway in Chicago to empower Americans to “stem the tide of ocean trash.” There are personal petitions being floated to “save the sea” and protect the aquatic animals we love. There is even an engaging exhibit entitled “Washed Ashore” to teach about the dangers of plastic:
"Expanding Washed Ashore into the community provides an opportunity to engage more people beyond Shedd’s walls with an artistic, powerful message that single-use plastic trash is one of the deadliest predators for our lakes, rivers and oceans," said Kris Nesbitt, senior director of exhibits and experience development at Shedd Aquarium, in a news release. "Chompers the Shark is a giant reminder of human impact on our oceans and waterways. Our hope is that by seeing him at The Shops at North Bridge, Chicagoans and tourists alike will think twice about single-use plastics and take simple actions like using a reusable shopping bag at a store or carrying a refillable water bottle whenever possible.”
Chompers is the first and only sculpture from the exhibit placed outside of Shedd Aquarium. The first 10 sculptures of Washed Ashore arrived in September 2017 at Shedd. In April 2018, three more sculptures will arrive and will be on display Chicago until September 2018. (Click here if you’d like tips from an experienced travel on how to spend a weekend in Chicago with kids.)
I had a chance to see “Chompers” when I traveled last December to the Windy City, and that’s what got me to thinking to the problems of pollution in rural America. We don’t often see its effects because trash is easily disguised in the tall grasses that line our road ditches, but it’s there and it’s problematic to the health of our livestock.
One day this winter I noticed a plastic Casey’s pizza bag had gotten baled into my alfalfa. Thankfully, I removed that bag before any of my goats made it to the bunk or it could have killed one. Another day I found an aluminum can in a bale. Trash can plug balers and cause unnecessary costs/repairs to farm equipment.
The next time you’re tempted to toss out your McDonald’s bag or a Styrofoam takeout container… don’t! Styrofoam does not decompose like plant materials. In fact, Styrofoam products can persist in the environment for more than a million years. Plastic straws don’t decompose either. Here’s a shocking statistic: Americans use about 500 million straws each day, which equals the weight of 1,000 cars!
Small changes can make a big difference. Consider carrying water bottles and aluminum straws with you, so you can reduce the amount of trash you’re putting into landfills. Help make your corner of the world a better place by properly disposing of your trash, recycling materials when you can and picking up trash when you see it blowing. You never know whose life you might save by doing so!
The screenshot below shows a rancher friend of mine from California who recently posted this on her Facebook page. Thank goodness we don’t have eye sores in our ditches here, but we do have dangers! Let’s all do our part to keep Iowa beautiful and our livestock healthy. Give a hoot… don’t pollute!
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