Plastic straws, an ingenious invention, not only plague the environment, but also directly cause land, water, and air pollution. Plastic contains toxic pollutants that can take the environment upwards of thousands of years to break down. Plastic pollution demonstrates harmful long-lasting effects on the environment. Plastic releases harmful chemicals that seep into groundwater and other surrounding water systems; these harmful chemicals can also seep into the ecosystem of the world. This contaminated water is detrimental to the health of the various species that depend on it.
Marine plastic pollution affects over 267 species. These animals include sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals. Furthermore, there are 700 marine species that are on the verge of going extinct due to plastic pollution. Over 1 million marine animals are killed annually from plastic pollution and there are over 100 million tons of plastic in oceans all around the world. Plastic is detrimental towards our environment and for various marine animal species.
As of 2020, our planet is home to 8 billion people and 8.3 billion plastic straws. We live in a world where there are more plastic straws than there are people. Due to their deceivingly small size, plastic straws seem trivial and unimportant. However, plastic straws actually make up over 4 percent of the world’s plastic emissions. Not to mention that plastic is responsible for around 95 percent of marine pollution. These statistics are a call-to-action that we need to reduce our plastic waste.
Every individual should be doing their part to save our environment. One way to reduce plastic in our beaches is to attend a beach cleanup. Beach cleanups are a method of reducing plastic pollution on a local scale. One way to reduce marine pollution, on a global scale, is through utilizing metal straws. Metal straws can be purchased for the minute cost of around 7 dollars. Not only are metal straws convenient, but also are a cost-efficient way to save our environment. They fit in perfectly with reusable coffee cups, mugs, water bottles, etc. Additional solutions include: purchasing multi-use containers, using wooden stirrers for drinks, utilizing a reusable tote bag, and many more. Although completely reducing the world’s plastic emissions may seem impossible now, change can only occur one step at a time. Whether it be on a local scale or a global scale, everyone should be doing their part to make our world a cleaner place to live. Inso Park/ Valencia HS 10th