Letter from a 6th Grader to the Mayor

This letter was written to Mayor de Blasio by a local 6th grader concerned about how our reliance on plastic is harming aquatic life. We can all follow her example—voice your concerns about environmental issues to the office of the mayor.

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

My name is Anja and I am a 6th grader. I love animals. I have a dog, have always taken care of my elementary school’s pets and have had other animals as I was growing up. I used to go on walks with my dad just to meet and pet new dogs. Have you ever had any pets that you love and care about? I bet you would hate to see them or any animal hurt and so would I, that is why I am here to inform you about the amount of pollution in our oceans.

Have you ever eaten plastic or has your house ever been polluted by tons of garbage? Having your whole life being covered in trash? Your family and friends getting hurt or even killed? I bet you wouldn’t like it and would definitely want to change it, maybe for someone to help you. This is all I am asking for, for all the sea creatures that have to live with their home polluted by us. Birds and other sea animals end up eating plastic thinking that it is food. This can then kill them as a result of the plastic not digesting and clogging their systems. Sea turtles, sea birds, seals, sea lions, whales and dolphins are already endangered because of this, and if it goes on, it can lead to many of these animals becoming extinct. These animals have been around for as long as I have been alive and for many years before. I would hate for everyone in the future not to have gotten to experience these amazing creatures, and it would be even worse if we were the ones that didn’t stop it. Don’t you want to be remembered for saving our earth, Mayor de Blasio? According to Kids Take Action Against Ocean Plastic, “There are over 5.3 trillion pieces of plastic afloat in the ocean”. Can you even imagine this number? And try thinking about how we made this happen. Or that this number is hundreds of billions more than the population of people on our earth. These are horrible thoughts. If you don’t take action to prevent this, many more animals will become extinct and our world would never be the same. This is why I am suggesting to ban plastic bags in New York City.

How many times have you seen someone walking around holding groceries in both hands, with two plastic bags (in each hand) holding a bag’s worth of stuff? People end up using four bags, or more, for one stop at the store. Plastic bags are not very good quality and are mostly not being recycled. According to landerfornyc.com, “New Yorkers use 9.37 billion carryout bags per year, the vast majority of which are not recycled. Plastic bags account for over 1,700 tons of residential garbage per week in NYC on average.” This is why they are killing so many animals. So many people go through many plastic bags a day, as a result they are a huge factor for our animals suffering. Wouldn’t it be better for our earth, easier and more convenient if people used reusable bags? Or got paper bags instead of plastic when they stopped at a store. The answer is yes, yet almost no one does this. Everyone, instead uses so many plastic bags for things like:

  • Grocery shopping

  • Stopping by at the corner store

  • Picking up dog poop

  • Getting take-out food

  • Simple purchases (clothes, buying a gift, etc.)

All of this plastic gets thrown away and never gets reused. Instead, it sits on our earth and in the oceans for thousands of years. According to theoceancleanup.com, “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is the largest of the five offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world’s oceans. It is located halfway between Hawaii and California.” The GPGP is about 1.6 million square kilometers. This is about the size of Russia. And five of these makes the pollution much larger. Imagine being a sea creature and living in this, having everyone, including you, suffer. And imagine how badly this is polluting our food. If our life goes on like this, and it looks like it will, we will have many more garbage patches, and they will continue to increase in size. Help save our earth by banning plastic bags in New York City. Make sure that your kids won’t have to suffer later on and fight their own battle to fix this.

Sincerely,

Anja D.

Marmot Mcmahon