How Plastic is Ruining our Oceans

What YOU can do to help save the aquatic environment


Morgan Buckwalter, Opinions Editor

Imagine this, you are a sea turtle who is swimming frantically in the ocean because the home you have established for yourself is taken over by floating bottles, trash, and other plastic items. Where are you and your family supposed to live now? How can you suffice in an environment of immense toxicity? Most importantly, how do humans – the ones who caused this, fix this appalling issue?

If you’re reading this article while drinking out of a plastic bottle, sipping from a straw, or using a plastic fork to eat your meal, you may want to consider something. About 100,000 marine creatures die from plastic entanglement or interaction yearly. If that statistic doesn’t give you chills, I’m not sure what will.

A majority of people know our oceans are struggling, but don’t think that it is something that they can change. Someone else will fix the oceans, right? Actually – wrong. To prevent our oceans from getting any worse, it needs to be a group effort. Every single person can make a difference in the world, starting by getting rid of useless plastics. For example, start by getting a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic water bottles. Americans consume approximately 8.6 billion gallons of bottled water each year. In addition to that, not all of those bottles are recycled. In fact, most plastic bottled water is carelessly thrown into the trash can. By drinking from a reusable bottle, we are one step closer to a safer ocean. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, there are filters which easily attach onto your faucet. It’s worth the small price to keep our oceans healthy.

Do we really need straws to drink from a cup at a restaurant? Our society has gotten to the point where we are too high-maintenance to have our mouths touch the top of the glass to take a sip of our drink. I’ll admit, I like using straws, but I’ve realized that it’s not worth the negative effects on our environment. According to research, we use over 500 million straws daily just in America alone. Straws are one of the most popular items to be found on our beaches. They are easily left behind after a day at the beach or blown around from trash cans. Straws are too small and lightweight that they can’t go through the regular machines in order to be recycled. If we don’t change our imprudent habits now, there will be more plastic items in the ocean than fish by 2050.

One company that is set to make a difference is the home of all caffeine-lovers, Starbucks Coffee Company. Their plan is to eliminate plastic straw usage by next year. The plan for strawless lids were announced in 2018 and are already effective in thousands of locations. Since Starbucks cannot deny people straws, they will be providing a substitute for plastic straws. Instead, they will offer paper or compostable plastic straws.

Overall, the amount of plastic being carelessly thrown into our oceans is negatively affecting our environment and our ocean animals. With one person at a time, we can prevent the usage of plastic infecting our oceans by thinking twice about buying a plastic water bottle or using a straw.