HOUSTON, TX-- Right now, about 315 billion pounds of plastic are floating in our oceans. By 2050, those oceans are expected to contain more plastic than fish, according to the World Economic Forum.
That news led to a healthy debate among friends in Menil Park Tuesday. "People like to say things that humans do aren't natural, but like, we are nature," said University of Houston student E.J. Nunez.
Shelby Potts disagreed, "If it's in our nature to destroy things, maybe we should try to not go with our nature."
Romina Von Mohr chimed in, "We're lucky to be in this country where we don't see the effects of it as much."
New mom Thea Manos, summed it up best, "A lot of people don't care about the ocean, but it does affect everybody."
Over the past 50 years, plastic usage has increased 20 fold and it's expected to double again in the next 20. But just 14% of it ever gets recycled.
The Houston Zoo is doing its part, though. Gift shops there stopped using plastic bags last summer. "These are very harmful to ocean animals like sea turtles who mistake them for jellyfish in the water," said Martha Parker, the Houston Zoo's conservation impact manager:
The zoo's also just opened a special exhibit called "Washed Ashore." "All of the trash, plastic pollution that has been found on beaches has been picked up and these artists make it into different animals that you find in the ocean," explained Parker. "It's really a way to show people the impact that plastic pollution and trash is having on our ocean and the animals that live there."
Each year, more than a 100,000 turtles, seabirds, whales, dolphins and fish die from starvation after consuming too much plastic in the ocean.
"Oceans are critical for every living thing on this planet," added Parker. "They're really the lifeline of all of the ecosystems around the world, so conserving our oceans and everything that lives in our oceans is critically important for all of us."
We couldn't have said it better.