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There is more to saving the Earth than eliminating straws

Glaciers have melted, forests are being burned and animals are trying to keep up with the mess humans have caused due to our desire for a more modern and consumerist society. There is trash and plastic waste engulfing our oceans and intruding in wildlife’s homes. We are endangering life on Earth, and it is deteriorating the time we have here. We all know this, but not enough is being done to fix it.

While all of this is concerning, refusing to use the plastic straw is not going to make a difference in our pollution problem. I acknowledge that we have a plastic problem and I am happy we are attempting to fix it, but it is simply not enough.

According to National Geographic, only 0.025% of the eight million tons of plastic that flow into the ocean every year consists of plastic straws. The number one item found in the ocean is single-use food and beverage containers. Trade your “metal straw” sticker in for a “reduce ALL plastic” sticker if you really want to eliminate plastic waste.

This problem not only exist in America but also in other regions. In East Asia and the Pacific, where, according to Our World In Data, 60% of the plastic is mismanaged.

In every elementary and middle school science class, we get drilled on the benefits of recycling and the whole process of it. Yet, according to Royal Statistical Society, in 2018 90.5% of plastic waste was never recycled.

We should, in all means, try to do everything in our power to save our oceans, forests, our animals and try to increase the time Earth has left. For some, that may mean not using plastic straws, but if you are going to lose it over someone’s plastic straw, are you also getting militant over every plastic utensil, over every grocery bag and over every plastic Starbucks cup.

Now, any effort is better than nothing, but plastic straws are a tiny percentage of the millions of tons of plastic taking over our oceans, lakes and rivers. So, obsessing over not using plastic straws is not worth it.

If you really want to make a significant difference in trying to decrease our plastic waste, conserve our Earth and save the sea turtles, try avoiding plastic bottles at all cost and switch to a reusable water bottle. Try reviving your knowledge from school on recycling and put it to use. You could even go a step further and switch to using renewable energy, help pick up trash in your community or even plant a tree.

There are so many options and organizations that you can join as well, such as Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Working Group. Do not just stand in the Starbucks line with your arms crossed and your eyes beaming at people as they unravel their straw and take a sip of their coffee.

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