Plastic straws in oceans cause harm to marine life

Amanda Nelson, Editor-in-Chief

As spring break draws closer, many people will migrate to warmer climates in an attempt to forget the dreary, grey Ohio skies. Everyone loves a beach vacation, with its warm breeze and cool, blue waters. Swimming, boating, surfing, tubing, snorkeling and scuba diving make up only some of the most popular ocean activities. While you enjoy this sweet escape from the rolling hills and wooded landscapes of our home, take a moment to think of the organisms that inhabit the ocean.

The green sea turtle is a peaceful and ancient creature that continues to face an environmental threat caused by humans. The culprit? Plastic straws. Whether blown out of trash cans or littered and left at a beachside resort, drinking straws easily find their way into the ocean. Plastic waste fighting organization, For a Strawless Ocean, states that “we use over 500 million [plastic straws] every day in America” and “by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.”

An eight-minute video that went viral in 2015 sparked a movement to reduce plastic waste from humans. In the video, a person extracts an old, shriveled straw from the nose of a olive ridley sea turtle while blood streams out of its nostril.

Marine biologist Christine Figgener, a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University and a sea turtle expert, who was on the team featured in the video mentioned above, commented on the effect of plastic on this particular ocean creature.

“When we find dead turtles, we dissect them, and almost every single turtle has some kind of plastic,” said Figgener.

Eliminating straws completely is a minor inconvenience for the payoff of a cleaner ocean and safer aquatic life. If a straw is required for someone with a physical disability or a person has an issue with the cleanliness of restaurant cups, steel straws can and should be used.

To get involved, there are many social media movements such as #NoPlasticStraws. Make a pledge to help clean our oceans.