Photo by Hannah Lee

Photo by Hannah Lee

How many water bottles do you drink a day? What about in a week? A month?

The amount of plastic that is produced to meet the demands of people in North America alone is staggering. According to the Container Recycling Institute, Americans consume water from plastic bottles at a rate that demands more than 70 million bottles every day. Also according to the Container Recycling Institute, in 2014, 100.7 billion bottles were sold in the United States. That’s around 315 bottles per person. Thinking more locally, according to these statistics, that means Chaparral students consume nearly 630,000 bottles a year. The amount of plastic we put to use is becoming a crisis in itself, not only for the oceans and landfills that are becoming covered in never-ending heaps of plastic, but for the way that we conserve water as well. Building Manager Jose Suarez says that administration is taking necessary steps to assure that we have the newest equipment possible to minimize the waste of water at Chaparral, for both financial and environmental purposes. “Admin takes steps every year to make sure that we are moving forward and replacing all of the equipment and hardware we can to save as much water as possible. We’re always making progress,” Suarez says.

Chaparral is obviously taking steps to conserve water where it’s obvious, but the way students as well as teachers purchase plastic beverage bottles is counter intuitive to these actions. According to the Plastic Oceans Foundation, “The process of producing bottled water requires around 6 times as much water per bottle as there is in the container.” Not only are the bottles piling up, but they are wasting water in their own surprising way. There are several ways to fight against the mass production of plastic, but one of the most powerful is to simply stop buying it. Students of Chaparral as well as youth everywhere should care deeply about this plastic epidemic, as it is our world that we are destroying. Buyers and the demand of a product have a significant impact on the supplier’s ability to produce it. In other words, if we stop buying bottled beverages, they will be forced to stop creating them. Consumers must think of every purchase they make as a vote toward the world they want to live in. If plastic is ‘voted’ against so to speak, the materials we rely on will have to be rethought, which is what this world desperately needs. If every individual has the power to make change with something as simple as a purchase, humans have no excuse to let plastic consume our Earth whole. We only have one planet, there is no back up, and we must start acting like it.

Story by Alex Merrill