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Katie Lu

Year-Prize: The 11th Eco-generation Environmental Essay Competition     Item: Beat Plastic Pollution

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Beat Plastic Pollution


Katie Lu (United States of America)

Honorable Metion


I am six, and standing at the shoreside. Eager ripples of the salty sea lap at my toes, beckoning me to take the plunge. The ocean calls to me, her wild waves curling forward, foaming and frothing at the tips. She stands tall and truthful, the sunlight softly beating straight through. I decline, for my tiny stature doesn’t stand a chance against her towering majesty; the piercing blue depths too cold. Squawking gulls float above, riding the invisible air currents. I turn away, and run back to our colorful umbrella stuck in the sand. Plopping down, the rays soak my skin, and the warm sand coats my bottom. I ask Mom for the bucket, and she passes it to me. Climbing onto my knees, I crawl around, scrutinizing the sand. My grabby hands dig through the rough grains, trying to cling onto Earth, finally finding purchase in smooth, cool shells. I claw them out, and hold them up to the sky, taking in their swirls of color, seeing if they’re worthy enough to go into my bucket. I do this several more times, until Mom calls me back. She tells me to go rinse off my hands in the water, and I do. The water cleanses me.
I am ten, and running towards the water. She slowly undulates, rising and falling; I am no longer scared. Submerging myself in the warm waves, I open my eyes to be greeted by her aged ethereal beauty. Her depths are now murky, borderline brown. The sunlight can no longer pierce through, and what little light does spotlights half-hidden, shimmery plastic. Bottles discretely scattered all over the thick sandy floor, remnants of visitors who lived in ignorance of Mother Nature’s offerings; left behind slip a noose around marine life and be yanked by man’s hand. I grab as many as my arms can carry, and swim back up to the surface. Popping my head above the water, I float on my back, clutching to the bottles like a lifeline. I lay there, and close my eyes, to lend an ear to nature’s heart. I don’t hear the beating of a sea bird's wings, or its familiar caws. I don’t feel the eager pulsating of the ocean, once pushing water into my ears. Cracking open an eye, I see white plastic bags tossed through the air instead of flapping seagulls. She is no longer a vivacious being, but an aged elderly woman, our easily disposable waste draining the life out of her.
Under the umbrella, I wave my hands in and out of the sand, feeling the grains sift through my fingers. Something hard and cold hits my fingers, and I dig it up. It’s a bottle cap. Shaking my head, I scan the vast expanse around me. Small white circles dot the floor, Earth’s blemishes. Nearly everywhere I step, bottle caps dig into my feet, biting reminders that the once clean beach that nurtured me during the summer was being trashed. I stop looking for shells, and start on bottle caps.
I am fourteen, and I no longer go to that beach. Instead, I spend my summers under the blazing sun, standing for hours upon end in Central Park Zoo, teaching children about conservation, in an effort to prevent other shores from being destroyed like mine were. I am only able to ignite the fragments of nature’s soul in some, while the rest merely stream on past. But those that I am able to touch rediscover the depth of their connections to Earth. And those that don’t succumb to their roots will learn, learn that we begin to lose our connection to mother nature more and more each day, and shall inevitably become more and more plastic.


Viraaj Kulshreshtha

  • Aman Gangwar says :
    congrats Katie.
    Posted 31-10-2018 19:47

Kajal Saini

  • Kajal Saini says :
    Congratulations Katie!
    Posted 26-10-2018 14:02

Archa B Jayan

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