How a Jellyfish Park Highlights Plastic Pollution

The Problem with Plastic

Plastic makes many of our daily tasks much easier. We can make a single cup of coffee in the morning using a plastic coffee pod.We can grab a bottle of water on the way to exercise class. Small plastic grocery bags are lighter load in the car. And we don't have to wash disposable diapers when they're dirty.

But plastics have a dark side. Too often, they end up as litter on our beaches, in our parks, and on roadways where they end up in drainage systems. They congregate in our oceans, lakes, and rivers, harming aquatic life. Even plastics disposed of in the garbage clog our landfills.

Single-use plastics--those that are used once and thrown away--are especially problematic due to the volume of waste. According to an article on Forbes.com, we're buying a million plastic bottles per minute, worldwide--and only 9 percent of plastic is recycled. An article on the website Bad Plastics notes that "single-use plastics are one of the most powerful symbols of our indifference to the environment our children will inherit."

Another problem is that plastic lasts a very long time. A plastic water bottle can take 450 years to
degrade. And it never completely breaks down, but eventually turns into tiny particles less than 5 millimeters long. These are called microplastics, and are harmful to aquatic life.

Education is Key to Reducing Plastic Pollution

I don't believe that people want to harm the environment. But most folks don't realize the enormity of this problem. The average person may wonder, how is my one little water bottle or coffee pod--that I properly recycle or dispose of--hurting anything? I also don't think we need to start outlawing the use of straws or grocery bags.

Instead, if people are more aware of the cumulative effect of plastic pollution, they'll make an effort to be part of the solution.

So, What's All This About Jellyfish?


Here in Jacksonville Beach, Florida we have a unique event called Deck the Chairs. During the Christmas season, lifeguard chairs are used to create beautiful lighted displays. In 2018, Jellyfish Park became a part of the display. Sponsored by Beaches Go Green, Jellyfish Park includes lighted "jellyfish" composed of used plastics. The display consists 185 pounds of single-use plastics--what an average American uses in one year.
The educational display brings awareness of the problems caused by single-use plastics, and the value of recycling. The plastics were provided by Republic Services, and will be picked up and recycled after the event.

Jellyfish Park is designed to attract both kids and adults, with educational material to help us be more conscious about our decisions when it comes to plastics.

Even small changes can help.
Save the plastic grocery bags and put them in the recycling bin at the store--or bring reusable bags. Carry a reusable water bottle on your run. And NEVER litter!

After looking at the beautiful jellyfish full of water bottles, and reading the informative posters, I know I'll be more mindful about using and recycling plastics.






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