by Austin Fodera
The inspirationfor my project was the viral video that came out showing a turtle with a plastic straw lodged in his nostril. This video prompted me to make a model seaturtle out of plastic straws. To illustrate the point of how marine creatures ingest plastic and garbage, I also filled the inside of the model turtle with all of the garbage created from the making of the model turtle.
Each year 1,000,000 seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting plastic. In 2017 alone, people in the United States used, on average, 390,000,000 plastic straws a day. That is enough plastic straws to wrap around the entire Earth two times. Over a year, the United States used 142,350,000,000 plastic straws which could wrap around the earth over 711 times.
In 2017, plastic straws were the eleventh most-found trash in the ocean and made up for 3% of all recovered trash from the ocean. One of the issues with plastic straws is that most are made from type-5 plastic (polypropylene), which is not a heavy enough plastic to be recycled at the majority of places, so they end up in landfills – which is why they end up in the ocean and harming the environment. Plastic straws take up to 200 years to decompose, and although they decompose, they do not completely degrade – which means they just break down into smaller, almost invisible pieces and never completely disappear fromthe Earth. When plastic decomposes it releases chemicals into the environment that are toxic to wildlife and the environment. Some states have already started to combat the effects of plastic straws by passing legislation that regulates the distribution. We can do our part by using alternatives to plastic straws, such as: bamboo, metal or paper straws, or skipping a straw altogether.
United Nations. (June 5-9, 2017). The Ocean Conference: Marine Pollution. Fact Sheet. United Nations. New York, NY. n.d. Retrieved from: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Ocean_Factsheet_Pollution.pdf
Lonely Whale. (2018). UnderstandingPlastic Pollution. Strawless Ocean. New York, NY. Seattle, WA. n.d.Retrieved from: https://www.strawlessocean.org/faq
Austin Fodera is a senior studying International Criminal Justice with a minor in Security Management at John Jay College.