• Thomas Lee 11th Chino Hills High

My Two Cents at the Beach

Updated: Jun 13

On a beautiful Saturday morning in February, I was headed for the Corona Del Mar to clean up the beach with the members of Lifereset. As the chilly ocean breeze was sipping through my sweater, I already felt afresh by gazing at the vast blue ocean gloriously laid before my eyes. Standing on the shore where white tiny waves were scurrying rapidly just to succumb to the soft sand, I was fully geared with a face cover, gloves, a bucket, and a grabber, ready to scavenge any distractions that would ruin the perfect scene of the nature. Sure enough, a piece of plastic bag, torn and formless half buried in the sand, was waving by the winds. I clinched my grabber to extract it out of the sand pile and dumped it in my bucket. Sooner than I thought, my bucket was filled with clear, colored, dingy, and sand-covered bits of plastics, a blunt reminder of our modern civilization where convenience has become our idol.


A few years back, we, Californians, banned single-use plastic bags in retailed stores. This caused much inconvenience for shoppers by carrying around their own bags or spending their whole dime, but it was definitely a noble action as it significantly reduced plastic waste; we all deserve a self-petting on our back. Was it too soon to celebrate? COVID-19 reversed everything. Plastic bags at markets were going spree once again for the health concern in the beginning of the pandemic. All restaurants were only serving carry-outs bundled with single-use plastic containers. A bowl of Sul-rung-tang (my favorite Korean soup) couldn’t make home without stacks of plastic bowls to separately contain soup, two kinds of kimchi, salt, pepper, side noodle, and green onion, not to mention a huge plastic bag that bundles all of them. To top it off, since the breakout of Covid-19, protective items like single-use masks and gloves are all made of plastic. It was estimated 1.56 billion face masks alone thrown in oceans, and small bits of nonbiodegradable plastics will be consumed by fish and birds for next 400 to 500 years.


Pandemic will ultimately end, but the aftermath of the pandemic out of our irresponsible choices will last hundreds of years to threaten us back. No one disputes the importance of keeping people well protected from this aggressive virus, but being one track minded is as dangerous as the virus. By making smart choices, let’s protect people and the planet with reusable face masks.


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