The following Letters to the Editor were sent from Westfield Intermediate School sixth graders as part of a lesson on compelling writing. The topic was plastic and its environmental impacts.
Dear plastic polluters,
Do you want to live in a plastic infested world or a perfect plastic out of the ocean world? I don’t know what you want but what I want is plastic being banned from the ocean!
One reason I have is that scientists are working on making plastic biodegradable. “John Williams is a scientist and a leader at Aquapak, which makes plastic that is biodegradable.” Biodegradable means that it will break down easier.
The second reason I have is that John Williams is also making a new plastic. “Williams’ company spent 15 years developing a plastic alternative called Hydropol. It can be more easily recycled.” It can break down faster than normal plastic.
My final reason is it damages our health and the animals in the ocean. “Damage to our health and the environment account for one-third of this cost.” If microplastics get in our body it will be hard to breathe and possibly kill you.
In my opinion plastic should be banned from the ocean and find another way to recycle and decompose it!
Sincerely, Zachary Morgado
Westfield Intermediate School, 6th grade.
Have you heard about the great pacific garbage patch (GPGP)? If you haven’t it is a massive “island” of trash accumulating in between Claifornia, and Hawaii stuck in a current of floating trash. Animals are dying because of it, we can make a difference, and change what is happening into the garbage patch. I am not sure if you have heard, but there is plastic getting into the ocean, and it’s hurting the wildlife.
First off, Nets can kill the wildlife if they fall into the ocean because they can get sucked by the current, and can strangle animals just going for a swim. “Fishing nets are made to be durable, which is great for catching fish. But that durability is not great when they’re lost or abandoned. Since they’re fairly cheap and easy to replace, those nets can then float through the ocean. The nets end up entangling and killing animals in their path.” Try not to not lose your fishing nets and litter your plastic because they could end up inside of birds, fish, dolphins etc., and also strangle them.
Next, A bunch of trash gets into the ocean every year, and animals swimming get trapped in the plastic going by them or they can eat it which is not good for their health. “The floating trash can harm and kill whales, dolphins, seals and more, scientists at Britain’s University of Plymouth say. The animals might eat the trash or get tangled in it.” I am just letting you know about these animals that are being affected, and what is happening to them even if they go out for a second they can be hurt by eating a plastic water bottle, or get strangled by a net.
Another reason, the plastic won’t go away all by itself magically, it will take decades to break down into nothing, but that is not good either because animals are eating the plastic that is small enough for them to eat. “The current plastic pollution will not go away by itself,” Rick van Holst Pellekaan said. He is a spokesman for the project. It is an expert quote from someone who also wants to help with this issue of the animals that live in the ocean and are dying, and it’s also trying to tell you that you need to recycle so they can be reused. And not end up inside of something as big as a whale oras small as a bird.
Finally, many people think that trash won’t be able to get from the ocean where they live if their home is 50 miles or something away from a ocean. But actually, the wind can blow it to a river, and that river can take it to the ocean so it still finds a way to get to the ocean. Don’t litter! Throw your trash in a trash can, and paper, cardboard, and plastics into a recycling bin, or do a bottle return of the items that can be returned if you have a bottle return close to you.
In conclusion, That is why you should recycle to help this environmental issue and to stop killing the wildlife living, and to help make the GPGP (great pacific garbage patch) a thing of the past, and have a better future.
Maya O, 6th Grader
Dear Westfield News
What if I told you, you are affecting sea animals and affecting your own family if you want to stop doing that, keep reading. In the article “If you drop plastic in the ocean, where does it end up?” by Alan Evans is a great resource and helps you answer your questions.
To begin with, you should not be throwing plastic in the ocean because you are just causing problems to your own family.“A normal plastic bottle takes about 450 years to break down completely. So the components of a bottle dropped in the ocean today could still be polluting.” This piece of evidence is important because this is why there is so much plastic in the ocean this affects us because if you think about it you swim in the ocean and that is gross because there is garbage/plastic.
Next do not throw plastic in the ocean or any body of water because sea animals end up eating those things.“Oceanographer Erik van Sebille has shown that, thanks to strong ocean currents known as gyres, huge amounts of plastic end up in six “garbage patches” around the world.” This shows that you should not do anything that affects the ocean mostly do not do something that is related to plastic ending up in the ocean because sea animals are just trying to live their life like you. Furthermore, Fishermen should limit how much fish they get. In about 2050 there is going to be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This is another reason why you should not throw plastic in the ocean because animals are going to eat plastic and by doing that you are killing animals.
You do not need to prevent plastic from getting into the ocean, but actually if you think about it you are hurting living things in the ocean and much more so you should think about your actions.After you are done reading this article sould stop what you’re doing and start recycling and not leaving plastic in the ocean and more things.
Every citizen that cares about the ocean should take action now and start recycling cans,bottles,paper and there is much more.Also you should not leave plastic in the river because 80% of the plastic in the ocean comes from the river.
Grade 6 Student in WIS
Dear Westfield News,
When I was at the beach on a sunny day I saw a person who was packing up and going back to his house. I saw that he left a plastic bottle on the sand that can possibly fly into the water, but I went and told him to pick it up, and he did not, and then when he went to a fish store he got a fish, and when he get a bite of the fish, he saw a plastic in side it and throw it in the garbage. We need to stop plastics from getting into the ocean, so our ocean and planet will be clean, and there will be more sea animals saved.
Researchers find a lot of small plastic pieces, and big plastic pieces of garbage in the ocean. “Microplastics made up 94 percent of the estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of trash in the patch. But they only accounted for 8 percent of the total mass. Part of the reason that larger plastics outweighed the other categories lay in all the fishing nets that accounted for 46 percent of the garbage patch’s mass.” It is important to clean up any plastic because it is hard for people who are helping to take out all the pieces of plastic from the ocean.
More and more plastic is getting in the oceans and the thing is that the fish are eating the plastic that is in the ocean. “Evidence of the scale of plastic pollution has been growing in recent months. Earlier this year, scientists found plastic in 83 percent of global tap water samples. Other studies have found plastic in rock salt and fish.” If we don’t clean up the plastic in the ocean, fish can eat the plastic, and maybe in the future you will want to eat a fish and it can be with plastic inside. You will not eat it, and then you will want to clean up the ocean because you want normal fish, but then it will be late.
There is a big weight and a big amount of pieces of plastic that are found in the ocean by researchers. “More than 5 trillion plastic pieces – weighing more than 275,000 tons – currently float on the surface. Around 9 million tons of plastic enter our oceans every year.” If you love to go to the beach and the beach is clean it is so good to swim in it. If the beach is filled with plastic you will not go there because you don’t want to swim with plastic, so if you don’t want to swim with plastic then clean it up.
You can save the planet and animals by throwing the plastic into the recycle bin. Also clean up the plastic if you see it on the floor or somewhere else where you can clean it up. Don’t be lazy. It is not hard to do or help to clean up plastic.“Would you eat plastic?” I think nobody wants to eat plastic because it is disgusting to eat the plastic, and it is bad for our health, so the same thing for fish. So don’t forget to clean up the plastic.
6th grader of WIS
Dear Westfield News,
You don’t want animals or maybe even humans to go endangered, do you? Every time you drop a piece of trash an animal could eat it. The more and more trash you drop, the more garbage an animal could eat. When it eats all the trash it will die. The animals dying are a big part of life.
First, if we don’t start recycling or picking up our trash, then animals will start eating it and dying. In the article https://newsela.com/read/microplastics-expedition/id/21863/?search_id=7bbb7c42-3feb-4ca9-a1ad-d4e85fdd087c it says “Scientists are worried about what small pieces of plastics, called microplastics, are doing to the oceans’ tiniest creatures, zooplankton. They will travel across the Atlantic Ocean to study the problem. Zooplankton, small oceanic animals, are important for the sea’s food web. They feed fish who feed other fish, right up to the fish we eat. Without them, these fish would starve.” This tells that if zooplankton go extinct from plastic than other animals that eat zooplankton, will go extinct. It will be a chain reaction and a lot of animals will go extinct. If these animals go extinct it will mess other animals’ food web up. Animals all have an important job when living and the fish that have a chance to be extinct could be food to the animals that help us live.
Next, we should try something different when we fish. The fish nets may work but they put the ocean in danger. The fish net is one of the main things that will kill an animal. In the story
“Part of the reason that larger plastics outweighed the other categories lay in all the fishing nets that accounted for 46 percent of the garbage patch’s mass. Fishing nets are made to be durable, which is great for catching fish. But that durability is not great when they’re lost or abandoned. Since they’re fairly cheap and easy to replace, those nets can then float through the ocean. The nets end up entangling and killing animals in their path.” When the fish nets get caught in the ocean it traps or kills some animals in the ocean. These are very cheap but harmful to animals. Make sure if you do lose your net, try and get it. If not then try and be more careful. These creatures in the ocean are just trying to live a life like you and me. What if you got caught or killed by a fish net?
Lastly, we should recycle and keep plastic alive for a good cost. It will help with the environment. In the text https://newsela.com/read/elem-great-pacific-garbage-ocean-patch/id/41731/?search_id=9551c922-d53c-4fb2-bbfc-ef15872f0e70 it says “Rather than making unnecessary plastic items, Williams said plastic products should be made with more purpose. They should be saved after use, even if that costs more, he said.” This means instead of throwing away your plastic water bottles, plastic bag, etc., recycle and make them something new and useful. Maybe make some art out of it. This will help the world and global warming. We can’t have anything get extinct or damaged.
So, maybe next time if you ever see a piece of trash on the side of the road, maybe pick it up. 🙂
Sincerely, Molly Boisseau
A 6th grader from WIS
Dear The Westfield News,
According to the article, 81 year old sailing champ who has sailed the world 11 times by Narelle Towie, Plastic pollution in the ocean affects even the tiniest of creatures, The last stop on the ocean trash highway is a tiny Pacific Ocean island, plastic is very bad for the ocean. One hot sunny day I went to the beach and I was swimming and I found a bottle and a bunch of ocean creatures were living in it. It was bad for them because it could give off toxic liquids that could lead them to death. We need to stop getting plastics in the ocean.
First of all, plastics break down into tiny molecules. In the article it said “microplastic concentrations in shallow ocean waters. Microplastics are small pieces of plastic, less than 5 millimetres long, that form as plastic objects break down.In the article it says “Microplastics can harm living things and the environment.”. This is bad because 1/10 people have to fish for a living and they can’t fish if there’s no fish, and fish is a main food source for people around the world.
Another reason is that It could harm the fish that we eat. In the article it says
“They feed fish who feed other fish, right up to the fish we eat. Without them, these fish would starve.”. Plastic in the fish we eat could affect the people who eat fish. It could make the fish toxic because of the plastic molecules
Another reason is that fish could mistake plastic for food. I found this information in the article. In the article it says “ These pieces are easily eaten by wildlife.” And “ types of fish could think that melted plastic is seaweed”. This is very bad for ocean animals because eating plastics could lead to death for these ocean animals. The most common animal that’s affected is the sea turtle. Turtles may think melted plastic could be a piece of seaweed.
We need to start recycling and not throw plastic away in the trash and to not litter or it will probably end up in the great pacific garbage patch. Or the ocean could turn into a ghost town.
Sincerely, Nolan Wondolowski
6th grader at WIS
Dear Westfield Residents,
Check before you use stuff some stuff is plastic and you don’t know about it! “Glitter is, unfortunately, just pieces of plastic.” I’m sure you didn’t know that glitter is plastic! This is why you need to make sure what you use is eco-friendly. An alternative you could use is to take a paper and a hole puncher and use the scraps from the bottom as glitter.
Being green can even save you money. “We all want to resolve to spend less money, and plastic is a great place to start. Host a toy swap with your friends instead of purchasing brand-new items.” This way you will save money and not have to waste any toys. Another thing you could do is buy wooden toys this is also an eco-friendly alternative.
Even the smallest thing is a problem “If fish is on the menu, use an online guide like Seafood Watch that takes into account the practices used to catch that type of fish, to cut down on the harm caused by abandoned fishing gear.” being eco-friendly isn’t easy you need to look out for lots of things especially food and how they make it.
Being eco-friendly isn’t easy you need to look out for lots of things especially food and how they make it. but the truth is that it’s actually not. Just going to the beach and picking up 10 pieces of trash is amazing. You don’t even have to pay to do this just go to your local beach and pick up trash.
Sinceraly, Lily Hoar
A sixth grader at WIS
All evidence in this essay is from the website https://newsela.com/read/use-less-plastic/id/48463/?search_id=5816adce-bd7f-4d80-ba52-09d5ea1eedd8
Plastic. We all see it, some ignore it, many people think that plastic pollution is a hoax, well it’s not. Plastic is a serious problem that should be taken very seriously. I will now explain why we must be serious about plastic.
My first reason is that We make lots of plastic .You can read just about anywhere about how much plastic we produce., you can also look just about anywhere and you’ll probably see either a bottle, or some plastic wrap. Not only that, but we use plastic in just about everything. but until we come up with an alternative we will still have to use it. This expert from the article “If you drop plastic in the ocean, where does it end up” said that “by 2050, the amount of plastic in the sea will outweigh the amount of fish” There are alot of fish in the sea so this shows we make a lot of plastic.
My second reason is that plastic degrades very slowly. Plastic is a composite material that is not biodegradable in the slightest. Even though it can break down it breaks into microscopic pieces that contaminate sand, water, and even fish. This expert from the passage “: If you drop plastic in the ocean, where does it end up?” said “the components of a bottle dropped in the ocean today could still be polluting the waters for our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren.” That means that plastic takes over 700 years to decompose! That’s a long time.
My final reason is that plastic is a very bad contaminant. As i said in the previous paragraph plastic is very harmful to the environment as it breaks down into microscopic particles that fish and other sealife eat. The plastic also washes up on beaches and blends in with the sand, the last time you were at the beach you could have been stepping on plastic. But the worst part is that when the sealife eat the plastic they slowly get sick and eventually die. And sometimes those fish will get caught by commercial fishing boats and get served to us as food! One expert from the article “Plastics found in stomachs of deepest sea creatures” even said this “Earlier this year, scientists found plastic in 83 percent of global tap water samples.” they also don’t know what this plastic does to humans so it’s very bad.
I hope I have taught you what plastics are doing to the ocean and the world. if you want to help stop the pollution, try to limit your plastic usage and volunteer to help clean up the earth at your local park or school. Also donate to charities against plastic pollution and always remember to Reduce, Reuse, And recycle.
Sixth grade student