Banning plastic straws isn’t enough. The effort behind banning plastic straws is backed by concern for a sustainable future and is an important part of starting environmental discussions in everyday life. However, it is not enough to fix the climate problems we are faced with. In fact, it will barely make a dent in the mass amounts of plastic pollution being released into oceans every single day.
According to Coastal Care, nearly eight million metric tons are dumped into the ocean yearly. By 2025, this rate is expected to double. U.S. News claims that plastic straws make up about 4 percent of that eight million. By weight, straws are only about 2,000 tons of the eight million that the ocean is plagued with. Most of this waste is comprised of fishing nets that have been discarded. This is at the fault of mass overfishing, not the individual consumer, even though cutting seafood out of your diet does help with the effort to reduce fishing waste.
This message can be discouraging to hear, but it is not inherently horrible. There is much more that can be done beyond banning straws. Industry is the biggest polluter on earth. Even if individual consumers pledge to not use plastic straws, the industry that creates this single-use, disposable plastic is the true culprit of the environmental degradation that we have witnessed. The pollution that comes with the production of these products, as well as the frivolity of the products they create, add up to a destructive outcome.
This isn’t to say that we should stop banning plastic straws all together. Banning single-use plastics across the board is a major sustainability goal, and the movement has ignited this conversation to grow. From here, there can only progress. We must ban all single-use plastics and challenge the major corporations that are polluting the earth at exponential rates.
Climate change is an ever-increasing problem and pollution is a large part of it. By being activists, we can make a real change on the environmental front. So much has already been done, but there is so much more to continue working on. We need to take what we’re doing and multiply it. Then multiply it again. It is not too radical and we’re not being alarmists to say that we must do something immediately and on a large scale about climate change, because it is the truth. Ban plastic straws, but also ban plastic bags, non-compostable cigarettes and disposable water bottles. Boycott companies that contribute the most to this problem. There is never too much environmental activism, and we must grow from here.
Katie Nolan is a sophomore studying environmental studies at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to reach the College Democrats? Send them a tweet @OUCollegeDems.