Plastic straws aren’t the problem

The problem with plastic straws have mislead people from a bigger issue.

Lindsey Chadwick, Staff Writer

The majority of people will know what I’m talking about when I say plastic straws can be considered a viral trend. After the viral video of a sea turtle getting a straw pulled out of his nose, the talk about plastic straws has been a controversial topic for environmentalists. It has been said that not many people realize that plastic straws are one of the many items found on the beach. They harm many birds, sea turtles and other sea creatures. But plastic straws have such a small impact compared to other plastic products that bringing a lot of attention to straws could interfere with preventing bigger problems.

Drawing our attention to a very small amount of harm could distract people from more prominent issues. According to an article in Pacific Standard, David M. Perry explains that instead of focusing on plastic straws, environmentalists could focus on garbage bags or water bottles that make up more of the plastic waste. People could also focus on ways to make fishing nets more environmentally friendly because they are the top leading type of plastic waste.

According to an article in National Geographic, “Eight million tons of plastic flow into the ocean every year, and straws comprise just 0.025 percent of that.” And according to an article by Mercy for Animals, “Fishing nets account for 46 percent of all ocean plastic.”

The argument has been made that because straws are so small, many people forget that they are plastic so they don’t remember to recycle them. However, I believe plastic straws are not the problem. Plastic itself is more of an issue and environmentalists could try to cut down the overall use of plastic to really make a difference. Straws aren’t the biggest source of plastic pollution, so why are they focused on so much?

I’m not saying cutting down on use of straws isn’t a good start at the bigger problem, I’m just saying we need to focus on things that harm the environment more. A decline in our amount of waste as a society is the goal here. If it makes you feel better to “save the turtles” then go ahead and refrain from using plastic straws, it’s a step in the right direction. But sooner or later, we will have to do something more to get the waste out of the oceans.