Saipan has a plastic problem


I have had the incredible pleasure of visiting this lovely island for three weeks. The blues of the water, the palm trees, and the rocky coasts never fail to amaze me.

There has been something weighing heavy on my spirit while I have been here though…and that thing is plastic. Every single piece of plastic ever made still exists, and a lot of it has ended up in our oceans and on our beaches. Scientists predict that there could be more plastic in the ocean then fish by the year 2050—which to me, is a terrifying possibility.

I spent two hours picking up plastic on Marine Beach yesterday and have read about many volunteer cleanups that happen across the island.

While cleanups are great, it actually hides the real problem: the production and use of plastic. Every restaurant I’ve been to on Saipan gives me a straw in my drink; every grocery store tries to give me a plastic bag. All of the carryout food I’ve seen here comes in styrofoam and plastic containers that will be used once and then thrown “away”—but “away“ could easily end up in our oceans.

If we really want to clean up our oceans and beaches, we need to do away with single-use plastics. The alternatives exist—restaurants could provide metal straws and carryout containers could be made of biodegradable cardboard.

I am completely enamored by Saipan, and would love it even more if we could cut back on the plastic.

Lisa Ramsden
Washington, D.C.

Lisa Ramsden

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