EnviroLink Forum

Ocean Plastic Crisis
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Author:  kbarger24 [ Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Ocean Plastic Crisis

If you keep up with all things related to the environmental world, you’ve most likely seen the horrific, heartbreaking video of a plastic straw being extracted from a sea turtle’s nose in 2015. The animal is shown in distress with blood pouring out of its nose. Unfortunately, this is just one example of how the plastic epidemic is affecting our marine life and overall health of our oceans. Year after year, the amount of plastic being deposited in our oceans is growing larger and larger. As the main cause of this issue, we humans need to come up with solutions to reduce the amount of plastic entering our oceans.
Marine life is the most-affected by plastic pollution in our oceans. Animals such as birds, sea turtles, fish, and marine mammals often ingest or become entangled in plastic debris in the ocean. This often causes them to starve, suffocate, or drown. According to an article published by the Pew Research Center, the United Nations emphasized that over 800 species are affected by ocean debris and that 80% of the debris consists of plastic (Reddy). As a result of our overuse and carelessness when it comes to plastic products, marine animals are suffering and the health of our oceans are being compromised. The graphic sea turtle video I referenced earlier has also brought a lot of attention to this issue. The woman who recorded this video was marine biologist Christine Figgener. She told Time magazine that recording the video allowed her to “show the suffering of a creature that was affected by a straw that someone had disposed of” (Rosenbaum). She hoped to evoke an emotional response from viewers in order to draw attention to the ocean plastic crisis and convince them to join the movement to fix it. Figgener was more than successful in bringing about this type of response, considering my personal reaction from her video. The brutal footage shows the impact of plastic pollution that people typically do not see very often and I agree with Figgener’s decision to use it in hopes to spark change. The devastating effect that plastic pollution has on marine life has been convincing enough to make many people, along with corporate companies limit their everyday-use of plastic products.
Several companies have also joined the movement to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans and have come up with several ways to make their products more eco-friendly. Starbucks has become a shining example for other companies to follow. In an article from Time magazine, author Gina Martinez reports that “Starbucks said in a press release that the move to replace straws from its roughly 28,000 stores will eliminate more than 1 billion straws a year.” The straw ban will make a significant difference in the amount of plastic that is deposited in our oceans. To replace the plastic straw, Starbucks has invented a recyclable, strawless lid for their beverages (Martinez). Personally, I applaud Starbucks for taking the first step in reducing their use of plastic and I think that their replacement lids is a brilliant idea. This major change in the coffee chain’s product will hopefully influence other companies to follow their lead. However, some may be completely against the decision to ban plastic straws for specific reasons.
The main issue that some people have with companies like Starbucks banning plastic straws is that it would pose a challenge for the disabled community. Some disabled people who have trouble swallowing rely on straws to eat or drink for many reasons. Along with their disability, they feel that banning plastic straws will be yet another obstruction to their daily lives. While I do understand this side of the issue and consider it a valid argument, eliminating the use of plastic straws will have more benefits than disadvantages. In addition, we can find ways to keep this from being a burden to the disabled community. Starbucks found a creative way to replace their straws, and the same can be done for this issue. For example, metal or biodegradable straws can be used as a substitute.
There are many things humans can do to help reduce the amount of plastic waste that enters our oceans. A few solutions that I would consider helpful to this issue would be using biodegradable paper or metal straws to replace plastic ones, taking reusable bags to grocery stores instead of using the plastic ones provided, and using a faucet-water filters to drink from instead of buying plastic water bottles. Although large corporate companies changing their ways can have a major impact on the ocean plastic epidemic, normal people can make the greatest difference in the overall health of our oceans by coming together to limit their use of plastic products.

Author:  ritterta_22 [ Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ocean Plastic Crisis

I was entertained with the information I learned from reading this. I did not consider that eliminating straws would hender anyone. I am glad to have that perspective now because it is not something I would normally consider but now will. Great use of information for the reader, I felt compelled by your argument.

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