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Plastic Straw Epidemic

Almost everyone in America is aware that plastic is contaminating our oceans and marine life. However, we are faced with detrimental effects if this issue is not resolved. Even though so many people have been made aware not many people are acting to change the outcome. Plastic straws have recently been brought into the spotlight to reduce the amount of plastic that gets released into the ocean and harm marine life, specifically associated with sea turtles.

 The straws can pose as a choking hazard to sea turtles as well as birds and other creatures. If the animal does manage to ingest the plastic it will eventually lead to health problems including death, seeing as no one can possibly survive with the intake of plastic in their bodies.

 Aside from plastic straws other sources of marine debris can pose a severe threat to marine life. Balloons are another source of danger; many balloons lose their bright coloring once out in the ocean for too long to eventually resemble a jellyfish which is a sea turtles’ favorite snack. Plastic shopping bags can also share this resemblance.

Dale Murphy and Alayna Robertson retrieve a mylar balloon from the surface and educate passengers about the harmful impacts of marine debris apart of our Clean Ocean Initiative. CMWWRC Database 2019.

 Actions being put into place to help reduce our plastic output include the reduction of plastic straws, Starbucks has now switched over to lids without straws in an effort to deter patrons from opting for a straw alternative. Some companies are currently in the process of finding an alternative to plastic straws such as reusable metal straws that can be purchased through amazon and biodegradable paper straws. Our own vessel the American Star has put in place the use of paper straws and spaghetti stirrers as part of our Clean Ocean Initiative program in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic being released into our waterways.

Skip the straw, save a turtle.  

Victoria Robinson

-Intern at Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center

Rowan University

Works Cited:

Rochman, Bonnie. “Straws are out Lids are in: Starbucks announces environmental milestone.” Starbucks stories and news. July, 09, 2018. Web. <>.