When marine biologist Christine Figgener filmed her team removing a plastic straw stuck in a sea turtle’s nose in August 2015, she says she had no idea how much it would resonate with the world.
Her team discovered the male turtle off the coast of Costa Rica while collecting parasites living on the sea creatures. In the video, visiting researcher Nathan Robinson uses pliers to slowly pull the object out of the turtle’s nasal cavity, which took about five minutes to completely extract. And the sea turtle appeared to be in physical duress as they removed it — the video shows blood streaming out of his nose and him sneezing and squealing multiple times.
THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTIC STRAWS
THE TRUTH ABOUT PLASIC STRAWS:
Plastic straws are really bad for the ocean. We use over 500 million every day in America, and most of those end up in our oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life. We want to encourage people to stop using plastic straws for good. If we don’t act now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
AREN'T PLASTIC STRAWS RECYCLABLE?
Most plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. They drop through sorting screens and mix with other materials and are too small to separate, contaminating recycling loads or getting disposed as garbage.
HOW DO PLASTIC STRAWS GET INTO THE OCEAN?
Plastic straws end up in the ocean primarily through human error, often:
1) left on beaches in coastal communities and seaside resorts globally
3) blown out of trash cans (oftentimes overfilled) or transport boats and vehicles.
While some city's waste management infrastructure is sound (like Seattle, for instance), not all communities have the same level of accountability.
Remember, all gutters and storm drains lead to our ocean!
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE THEY ENTIRE THE WATER?
An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50% mortality rate. What would our oceans be without marine life?
Over 500,000 straws are used daily in the USA alone!
Straws are #7 of the Top 10 debris items found in oceans and on land.
342 million pounds of plastic waste yearly.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THIS EPIDEMIC?
You can purchase a plastic straw alternative or at the very least say “No PLASTIC straw, please!” Get in the habit of asking for no straw before you even order a beverage. And be ready to tell your server why.
WHERE CAN I FIND AN ALTERNATIVE?