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let’s take a look at plastic waste




Nice to meet you, it’s Misato.

I’ll be writing about an environmental issue that’s been on my mind a lot lately. I think every era has its own environmental issue, but what left me with an impression recently is ocean plastic pollution. You might have heard it on the news. I came across an article discussing this issue online one day when I was just browsing around and started to think about it.


参考文献: プラスチックを取り巻く国内外の状況 / “地球にちょうどいい暮らし方” / 忍び寄るマイクロプラスチック汚染の真実

Have you heard of the term “microplastics”? Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic under 5 millimeters. Plastics that weren’t processed or recycled that ended up in the sea get fragmented into tiny pieces by UV rays and the physical force of waves. The tiny beads found in facial cleansers and tubes of toothpaste are a type of microplastic. Those tiny beads are called microbeads, and they end up in the sea after they are washed down the sink and passed through the water filtration system. Those tiny pieces of plastic have a tendency to absorb toxic chemicals, and there are many cases where it enters marine creatures’ bodies and kills them because their bodies couldn’t process it. So you can probably guess that as fish consumers, it’s not good for our health. Plastics that aren’t filtered out will just float around in the sea, and in a few decades will outnumber fish.


参考文献: プラごみを減らすための世界の動向

But not a day goes by where we don’t see plastic. That’s how much of a necessity it has become for our lives. Disposable plastics are taken for granted, and it’s the reality that sorting and recycling isn’t being properly done. I was like that until recently. Where I live, I have to sort my plastics, but sorting them was troublesome, and I never even considered washing my plastics for recycling. I wonder what happens to the plastics that are processed without being sorted properly. Even if they are processed properly, there are still plastics that end up in the ocean. It’s terrifying to think that I’m contributing to environmental issues. In Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia, they do a large scale clean-up everyday to get rid of plastic waste like bottles and straws on the beach and in the water. However, it’s difficult to eradicate plastic waste when they’re increasing day by day. Microplastics are even found in large quantities embedded within ice at the North Pole, and in India there was air pollution from the illegal burning of plastic waste. These issues are happening worldwide.


I was reading an article I found online the other day, and remembered one line from an essay I wrote in middle school about environmental issues. That line was, “I’ll do little things to reduce my contribution to environmental issues like turning off the lights when they’re not needed.” My middle school self thought, even though I can’t fix these environmental issues by myself, I can still make these little changes to lessen my impact. It’s something that I had forgotten. But from that day on, I started to properly sort my plastics! I became aware that just changing our attitudes can really change our actions. The phrase “environmental issues” sounds big, but it’s something we built. Actions can change the place we live. Where I was born, the ocean is beautiful, and you can always hear the waves when you step out of the house. It makes me sad to think that the place I love is littered with trash. So I thought of some things I can do myself:

・マイバッグやマイボトルを持ち歩く Carry around my own shopping bag and water bottle

・シャンプーは詰め替えボトルに変えるor石鹸を使う(私はLUSHの石鹸を全身に使ってる!) Use a refillable shampoo bottle or use soap (I use soap from LUSH for my whole body!)

・ストローの使用はなるべく避ける Refrain from using straws

・自宅だけでなく職場や出かけた先でもプラスチックの分別を行う Sort plastics not just at home but also at the workplace, and other places I visit


Let me know if there’s anything you are careful of, or if there’s any idea you have!

参考文献: 海を汚染するマイクロプラスチックの脅威〜現状と生態系への影響


After something catastrophic happens, is too late. It’s difficult to take action and change your lifestyle even if you’re aware of these issues. But the Earth will keep suffering if we don’t do something to combat these environmental issues. Let’s start with what we can do on an individual level. It takes courage to think about such a big issue, but I encouraged myself to write this article. You see the plastic around you. What are you going to do?

Images by Misato

English Translated by Kiara

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