April 23, 2019 Feature

Our Plastic Problem

Sarah J. Morath

In 2018 at least three whale deaths were tied to plastic pollution. In February, a sperm whale with 64 pounds of plastic in its stomach washed up on the shores of Spain. In May, a pilot whale discovered in a Thai canal near the Malaysian boarder had seventeen pounds of plastic, including 80 plastic bags in its stomach. Alex Horton, No One Could Save a Pilot Whale that Swallowed 17 Pounds of Plastic Bags off Thailand, Wash. Post (June 3, 2018). In November, a dead sperm whale washed up on the shores on Indonesia with 13 pounds of plastic in its stomach, including 115 drinking cups, 4 plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, and 2 flip-flops. But a 2015 video of a sea turtle impaled by a straw is credited with prompting responses from legislatures, consumers, and businesses, and galvanizing a movement to ban single-use plastics. Sophia Rosenbaum, She Recorded That Heartbreaking Turtle Video. Here’s What She Wants Companies Like Starbucks to Know About Plastic Straws, Time (July 17, 2018).

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