The Last Straw


Karina Popowycz

Plastic threatens oceans and sea life.

Emily Morales, Staff Reporter

Plastic is found everywhere. 

It’s in hospitals, restaurants, the grocery store, and in everyone’s kitchen and bathroom. Plastic has become an important part of everyday life, because it’s relatively cheap and can be used to create a myriad of products. 

Plastic bags are used for groceries, household items, and let’s not forget plastic straws. Plastic has also proved itself helpful when it comes to saving lives, often used to construct medical equipment. 

Plastic is so prominent in today’s society, it can even be found in many beauty and sanitation products. Microbeads can be found in body scrubs, face washes, and even certain toothpastes.  They are meant to help scrub away dirt that’s trapped under the skin. This wouldn’t be something to even think about, if it wasn’t for the way those small plastic beads harm the environment. 

How could something so small impact the environment? According to The New York Times, the effects of using microbeads are equivalent to grinding up water bottles and then throwing the pieces into the ocean. This brings unnecessary hardships to the environment, especially when there are more eco-friendly options. 

“I just think it’s unnecessary because they’re so many natural options for exfoliants that are probably more beneficial to your skin,” senior Claire Connolly said. 

For a more eco-friendly option, Connolly recommends Lush products. The creators of Lush products have a green policy that they follow when creating their products. 

Some states have passed laws limiting the amount of microbead-based products that can be distributed and how many microbeads can be in one bottle of a product. 

Fish often mistake microbeads for things they can eat, and  if caring about fishes’ health isn’t enough incentive to switch, then consider individuals who eat seafood, especially those who have seafood on a regular basis. Fish that consumes plastic are then eaten by a humans. 

Microbeads are not the only way that mainstream plastic is damaging the environment, and especially the oceans. Plastic straws have been causing environmental issues for a long time, but the movement to get rid of them has recently gained popularity due to social media. 

Social media is one of the fastest news generators. It is easy to use, along with a high access format that can quickly get information across to a large audience. With every like, comment, share, or retweet, movements grow and keep the general public well informed. 

Social media creates a format that allows everyone to share ideas, opinions, and information. Pollution from plastic in the ocean has been damaging the environment for many years. While expecting all plastic use to stop is irrational, it is reasonable for individuals to limit their plastic use. 

The website, warns if nothing changes by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. 

Connolly poins out that this will be during the lives of our children and grandchildren. 

“Every generation wants to make it better than the last generation left it. So, why aren’t we doing that?” Connolly said. 

Change is more than liking an Instagram post. One person won’t change the entire environment, so it’s important for people  to do things as a whole. 

Reusing plastic bags, not using plastic water bottles, and using products without microbeads are small steps that we can all take to help the environment heal.