Believe Promos (SeaWorld)
Believe Promos (SeaWorld)
The anti-straw movement took off in 2015, after a video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nose went viral. Campaigns soon followed, with activists often citing studies of the growing ocean plastics problem. Intense media interest in the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a floating, France-sized gyre of oceanic plastic – only heightened the concern.
However, plastic straws only account for about .03 percent of the 8 million metric tons of plastics estimated to enter the oceans in a given year.
A recent survey by scientists affiliated with Ocean Cleanup, a group developing technologies to reduce ocean plastic, offers one answer about where the bulk of ocean plastic is coming from. Using surface samples and aerial surveys, the group determined that at least 46 percent of the plastic in the garbage patch by weight comes from a single product: fishing nets. Other fishing gear makes up a good chunk of the rest.
The impact of this junk goes well beyond pollution. Ghost gear, as it’s sometimes called, goes on fishing long after it’s been abandoned, to the great detriment of marine habitats. In 2013, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science estimated that lost and abandoned crab pots take in 1.25 million blue crabs each year.
This is a complicated problem. But since the early 1990s, there’s been widespread agreement on at least one solution: a system to mark commercial fishing gear, so that the person or company that bought it can be held accountable when it’s abandoned. Combined with better onshore facilities to dispose of such gear – ideally by recycling – and penalties for dumping at sea, such a system could go a long way toward reducing marine waste. Countries belonging to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization have even agreed on guidelines for the process.
That’s where all that anti-straw energy could really help. In 1990, after years of consumer pressure, the world’s three largest tuna companies agreed to stop intentionally netting dolphins. Soon after, they introduced a “dolphin safe” certification label and tuna-related dolphin deaths declined precipitously. A similar campaign to pressure global seafood companies to adopt gear-marking practices – and to help developing regions pay for them – could have an even more profound impact. Energized consumers and activists in rich countries could play a crucial role in such a movement.
I’m just going to say this because I am tired of seeing my peers, agriculture workers and scientists in general being bashed on social media. It’s definitely not good for our mental health and I know many desperately try avoid those kinds of situations, but
the only reason science deniers get away with their shit is because they post their science-denying crap where other science deniers can see it and support them, thereby perpetuating the cycle. science-deniers will flat out refuse to acknowledge facts, bullying anyone who contradicts what they believe. they are a community of intimidators
and guess what, it’s not your fault so do not feel guilty about it. do your best to educate people, but don’t let it get to you when they throw it back in your face.
I get angry, and I know you do too but don’t beat yourself up because someone else is stupid. You can only take your responsibility so far, other people need to be responsible for themselves and it’s not on you.