• Outdoors Outdoors

Bystander makes sad discovery caught inside plastic bag found floating in local pond: 'Thank goodness you were there'

"We need to change our system."

"We need to change our system."

Photo Credit: Instagram

An Instagrammer who documented a distressing scene ended the post with a call to action that can be supported by everyone.

In June, Zoe Rosenberg (@zoe_rooster) pulled trash from a body of water. There was a fish inside, and it seemed to be on the verge of death.

"This morning I found a fish suffocating in a plastic bag at a man-made pond," the animal activist wrote. "At first, I didn't see the bag and I just thought she was dead or dying. Once I noticed the plastic, I ran to find a stick to pull her closer to the edge of the water."

Rosenberg added that the video shows the dangers of plastic, but she didn't blame the consumer, who may have even thrown it away.

"I think we should feel most angry at corporations that mass produce plastic," she continued. "Of course, try your best to avoid plastic, but it is companies that make it so much harder for consumers to live in alignment with their values. We need to change our system."

"Omg thank goodness you were there!!!" one commenter said. "A savior."

The plastic waste problem ramped up in the late 20th century, and it became unmanageable in the 2000s, when plastic waste over those 10 years exceeded what had been generated in the previous 40 years, according to the U.N. Environment Programme.

Unfortunately, the problem is escalating further. Today, 400 million metric tons of plastic waste is produced every year, and 85% of it is dumped in landfills or the environment. More than one-third of manufactured plastic is used to produce packaging, so there's a simple solution to cutting back the waste: eliminate plastic packaging.

Companies such as Aldi are taking steps to do just that, but it's not enough. The oil and gas industry is finding a huge market for these products and reaping record profits in the process.

You can help by talking to family, friends, and co-workers about plastic-free options — including food containers, grocery bags, and water bottles — and voting for politicians who promise to take action to help heal the planet.

Every little bit helps. Reducing demand for store-bought cleaners, for example, is one way to make noise with your wallet. As a bonus, you will save money and improve your health.

Another way to take action is by picking up trash whenever and wherever you see it. As Rosenberg and other conservationists have shown, anyone can save a trapped fish. But you don't have to be near the water to help wildlife. Pick up aluminum cans on a hike, or go "ham" on an unsightly neighborhood pileup; there's no telling what wildlife you can save.

We can do our part as we wait for corporations and other leaders to do theirs.

One commenter noted that "we happily existed without tons of plastic packaging" before the 1980s, stating that the cultivated desire for instant gratification is "killing the planet."

"Why are people so easily manipulated by greedy corporations to fall into that trap believing that they need to drink from small plastic bottles, eat on the go?" they continued. "I just don't get it and really despise what the world has come to."

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