Ditching Straws Is A Good Start, But We Need To Do More For Our Oceans
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Ditching Straws Is A Good Start, But We Need To Do More For Our Oceans

With over 80% of the world's corals projected to die within the next two decades, banning straws will just make a ripple in an ocean.


Ditching plastic straws in favor of biodegradable and metal ones is a movement that began to take the world by storm in 2018 when a video surfaced online of biologists ripping straws out of a turtle's bleeding nose. The result was a new reusable straw campaign that became popular under the social media coined motto #SaveTheTurtles.

The movement itself is harmless, but people were quick to point out that plastic straws only make up about 4% of the global annual waste. Banning plastic straws is a good idea, but it is just a mere start to the tackling of the issue of pollution in our oceans. Many people are quick to Instagram their Starbucks cups with nifty metal straws from Amazon but are completely oblivious of the fact that their cups are still made of plastic.

I'm taking an English class on environmentalism this semester, and one of our first in-class assignments was to watch a movie called "Chasing Corals." In the Netflix documentary, marine biologists travel around the world, diving and documenting the deterioration of the coral reefs in our oceans. Coral reefs are underwater ecosystems, much like our above-ground rainforests, that shelter, protect, and feed marine life. Without coral reefs, our marine life would dwindle and our oceans would die out. This is exactly what is happening, as documented by the movie.

Due to increasing amounts of carbon emissions and the consequent increases in global temperature, the ocean water is absorbing a lot of carbon dioxide. As a result, the water gets too acidic, and coral reefs begin to die. These events are referred to as bleaching events, where the corals lose their vibrant and exuberant exteriors and wane away to white, malnourished skeletons. They, too, have skeletons like us.

Marine biologists estimate that already as much as 30% of the world's coral reefs have died and will continue to die at an alarming rate if we do not take action as a collective human race. This is, after all, solely our fault. Human activity is the direct cause of global warming, and we are now actively denying the consequences of our collective behavior. We continue to mass-fish and pollute oceans, but we are indifferent to the issues that plague our oceans.

Watching the movie made me incredibly emotional, especially when they brought up the fact that, likely, our grandchildren will not be able to see the beauty of live coral reefs. We all contribute somehow to climate change. While ditching plastic straws is a good start, there is a sea of things we all still have to do to save our oceans and marine life.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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