Guest Columnist: Reduce consumption

Vlas Zyrianov

Pollution is a growing problem. Billions of animals and people are dying from pollution annually right now, and we should all do something to about it. One thing we should do is stop using and buying things we don’t need. Reducing consumption will reduce pollution.

People are consuming way too much. The average amount of waste generated per person in America is 4.5 pounds per day, or 1642.5 pounds per year. To put it another way, Americans dispose of enough trash every day to fill 63,000 garbage trucks, which, if lined up end-to-end for an entire year, would stretch halfway to the moon.

Most of this trash is dumped in landfills, often taking centuries to decompose, but some things, such as plastic bags, don’t decompose at all.  Instead, sunlight breaks them down into smaller particles, which contaminate the water and soil. These small particles are difficult and expensive to remove.

Landfills have many negative factors, such as the greenhouse gases they release. For example, methane is an explosive greenhouse gas, and there have been several incidents of people dying from exposure to it.

Another effect of pollution is the massive amounts of trash dumped in the ocean, especially because most plastic in the ocean may not degrade at all. According to Mark Gold and Cara Horowitz of the Los Angeles Times, “Some 20 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year, and it’s devastating the marine environment.” Many sea animals swallow the plastic, the plastic gets stuck in them and the animal dies. For instance, let’s look at the sea turtle. Sea turtles mostly eat jellyfish, and plastic bags look similar to the jellyfish. As a result, the sea turtle eats the plastic bag and dies. Today’s pollution in the water may become a problem for future generations—this is what the plastic bag you didn’t recycle may do to the earth.

What are some ways we can reduce consumption? First, you can stop using plastic bags to carry your groceries. Instead, you should use bags made of natural materials such as cotton or linen that are reusable. Second, don’t buy coffee or hot chocolate from coffee shops if they use disposable plastic cups. Instead, you can make your own coffee or hot chocolate at home and drink it from your own cup.

We should all reduce our consumption; Our ancestors didn’t consume as much as we do. If we continue our ways, one day the sun won’t shine. There won’t be any plants or animals, and earth will be a large wasteland with toxic gas everywhere. 

Vlas Zyrianov is a fifth grader at Holden Elementary in Kent.