News-flash, Plastic Straws Aren't What's Killing Our Planet
Start writing a post

Newsflash: Plastic Straws Aren't What's Killing The Planet

Pollution of our oceans is a big deal, but why are we focusing on straws when they only make up a very small fraction of trash that pollutes the ocean and endangers ocean life?

Newsflash: Plastic Straws Aren't What's Killing The Planet

The recent straw bans and citizen activism have caused a debate to spark up on the use of plastic's, but specifically plastic straws. The reality is that plastic straws make up about 4% of the trash polluting the ocean, and even less by weight; accounting for 2000 of the 9 million tons of plastic that hits our ocean each year.

That being said, straws play a vital role in some peoples lives. Metal straws lack the mobility that's so important for the disabled; they also can become too hot or cold, which can be dangerous for those with sensory issues. Metal straws are hard to clean, and that is extremely difficult if you have motor skill or mobility issues. Biodegradable and other straw alternatives present choking hazards for small children and those with difficulty swallowing. For anyone that isn't disabled, elderly, or a child, plastic straws are basically a luxury.

I personally couldn't imagine my grandfather, who was in a nursing home for four years with Parkensons, Dementia, and Alzheimers, going through those three years without a plastic straw that had the ability to bend. Straws provided him with the ability to drink on his own, for the most part, without risking spilling his drink. So, no, plastic straws aren't killing the planet- but they do serve a purpose for those with specific needs.

A study, conducted in the Science journal, estimated 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic that enters the ocean from 192 of our world's coastal countries, and just 0.9 percent of it comes from the United States. "A more recent study, from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, found that 90 percent of plastic polluting the world's oceans comes from ten rivers, eight of which are in Asia; two are in Africa." 80 percent of the oceans pollution comes from countries with extreme poverty; developed countries aren't really the problem.

A better solution than banning plastics and depriving citizens of rights would probably be to invest in a system that collects trash from the ocean, and stops it from entering in the first place; and better centers and procedures to turn used plastic into new items. This means the developed world working with, encouraging, and helping developing countries to reduce their pollution and waste.

This help can come from two places, the government or private-sector. But no matter how the assistance is acquired, there needs to be a world-wide effort to reduce plastic and waste. Because at the rate that this is going, we're in for some dark times in the near future.

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

Leaving My Backpack In The Library

Views about society and the stranger sitting right across from me


As a college student, my backpack is an extension of myself in many ways. It contains my notes, pens, and computer vital for my success in college. It contains the snacks and water bottle I need to survive long days on campus. It also contains the "in-case" items that help put my mind at rest if I forgot something from home: extra hair ties, masks, and that backup-backup snack. With so much in my backpack important to me and my life on campus, it is no wonder that I can get apprehensive about it when it is not with me or in my line of sight. And that makes me wonder.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.


Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.


As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Film Review

Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson lead a tigher, more fun sequel to 2018's 'Venom'

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment – YouTube

When Sony announced that Venom would be getting a stand-alone movie, outside of the Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man films, and intended to start its own separate shared universe of films, the reactions were generally not that kind. Even if Tom Hardy was going to take on the role, why would you take Venom, so intrinsically connected to Spider-Man's comic book roots, and remove all of that for cheap action spectacle?

Keep Reading... Show less

'The Addams Family 2' Film Review

The sequel to the 2019 reboot is an enjoyable, but unremarkable start to the Halloween movie season

Photo Credit: MGM – YouTube

There's a reason why the Addams Family have become icons of the American cartoon pantheon (although having one of the catchiest theme songs in television history doesn't hinder them).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments