Skip the Straw

Kadin Wetherholt, Writer

Recently, sea turtles all around the world are dying from plastic straws. Around the California area and the Caribbean, the straws are getting them caught in the turtles’ noses. Those concerned are pushing themselves and others to use paper straws to help marine life.

 

Plastic straws have polluted oceans worldwide and harmed the marine life. The crisis shifted into the public eye a couple months ago, but plastic has harmed marine life since its creation. Mrs. Sara Welty, the plants and animals science teacher at Oakdale High School, expressed, “They won’t be as damaging to the environment, but trash is trash.”

 

One of the biggest problems with paper straws is if they don’t biodegrade the quality of the water will be terrible. When paper degrades it leaves this film in the water, kinda like dirt. It isn’t good for the water and has to get filtered.

 

Overall, paper straws will be more effective towards the environment because “Americans use a whopping 500 million straws per day – a number that, end-to-end, could circle the planet 2.5 times. Now imagine this number compounded on a global scale.” (https://www.sailorsforthesea.org/programs/ocean-watch/skip-straw-%E2%80%93-save-turtle ) Americans don’t understand how deadly these straws really are.

 

The reason this is such a trend is that they are killing 4,200 sea turtle and 100 million sea life in general. Just in one day, Jason Bittel, a marine biologist, explained, “The news comes just days after another 113 sea turtles, most of which were also olive ridleys, washed ashore in Mexico’s Chiapas state. It’s unclear in this latter case what killed the turtles, but some bore injuries consistent with those caused by hooks and nets.”(https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/08/endangered-olive-ridley-sea-turtles-dead-mexico-news/ )

 

These turtles either think its food and try to eat it or they get it stuck in there nose and can’t breathe.  Scientist and rescue team all around the world pick up the turtle and use pliers to get the straw out of their nose. “After team members extracted a couple of centimetres of the object with pliers and snipped off a sample, they discovered that the wrinkled, brownish object was a plastic drinking straw.”

 

Straws are climbing up to the top ten list of pollution for marine life.. Fisher says an environmentalist “ 5.25 trillion pieces of marine trash that have ended up in the ocean, according to a January report.” (https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/how-did-sea-turtle-get-a-straw-up-its-nose.aspx  )

 

There are some biodegradable materials that can be used other than paper straws. Welty stated, “When I was growing up they always had paper straws, so why can’t we used all natural materials like corn or other biodegradable products.”

 

The biggest factor with paper straws is that most people don’t like to use them. When paper gets wet it gets soggy and mushy so many Americans don’t like the texture of the straw.

 

Thanks to strict regulations put into place by Mexico and other states are far back as 1869, there’s still hope. Most bars and restaurant down in the Caribbean and the islands are all going strawless or only paper straws.

 

Here in the U.S, the Starbuck companies have pronounced that they will be going plastic straw free. “ [On July 9], Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced it will eliminate single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 company-operated and licensed stores by making a strawless lid or alternative-material straw options available, around the world.”(https://news.starbucks.com/press-releases/starbucks-to-eliminate-plastic-straws-globally-by-2020 )