Stop Blaming The U.S.

| August 19, 2018

Pollution is a monster. Many believe that America should be doing more to help prevent the pollution that is slowly killing the planet. This has been brought to more attention than usual due to California’s recent ban on plastic straws [1]. And before that, most were in an uproar over President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement [2]. But is the attention and uproar justified?


The narrative has always been focused on the U.S.A. being the big, bad boogeyman of the world’s pollution. The picture of us laughing manically while we purposely dump millions of straws into the ocean and rejoice as all the dead fish float to the top may inspire many people to action, but it is simply a false picture. Digging a little bit deeper than surface level reveals that the U.S. is not the problem.

Not even close.

In fact, 95% of the plastic in the entire ocean comes from just ten rivers [3]. Ten. And none of them are in the U.S. All ten come from Asia or Africa. If all the plastic straws in America suddenly disappeared, the benefit to the environment would be negligible at best. Even less so when you consider that the now-infamous straw statistic was created by a nine-year old and has been repeatedly debunked [4].

The U.S. ranks 20th in mismanaged plastic waste [5]. And while that number is obviously not perfect, if you were to erase the U.S., it would make almost no difference to ocean pollution. The vast majority of pollution does not come from the U.S. Asia may want to consider a straw ban instead.

As for the Paris Climate Agreement, it is probably for the best that we’re not in it. Most other countries pledged emission reduction by almost nothing. India even pledged to limit their emissions less than they already are, meaning they pledged to increase their emissions [6]. Meanwhile, Obama pledged to reduce our own emissions by 26%. Which would wreak havoc on our economy. When taking these things into account, it is easy to see why Trump is attempting to leave the agreement.

While Californians are patting themselves on the back for a policy that may actually increase pollution [7], their economy and social structure seems to be tanking. Maybe instead of passing asinine bills, they should focus on their rampant STD rates [8].

Next time you see a post on Facebook describing how America is single-handedly destroying the planet, just remember that Google is your friend.



[1] Hafner, Josh. “Plastic Straws Illegal Unless Requested under California Bill – with up to a $1,000 Fine Attached.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 30 Jan. 2018,


[2] “U.S. Submits Formal Notice Of Withdrawal From Paris Climate Pact.” U.S.. N. p., 2018. Web. 19 Aug. 2018.

[3] “95% Of Plastic In Oceans Comes From Just TEN Rivers.” Mail Online. N. p., 2017. Web. 19 Aug. 2018.


[4] “NBC News Backs Off Fishy Statistic About Plastic Straws From Research By 9-Year-Old Boy.” Fox News. N. p., 2018. Web. 19 Aug. 2018.

[5] “Top 20 Countries Ranked By Mass Of Mismanaged Plastic Waste | Earth Day Network.” Earth Day Network. N. p., 2018. Web. 19 Aug. 2018.

[6] Stossel, John. “Why Trump Is Right To Reject The Paris Climate Agreement.” N. p., 2018. Web. 19 Aug. 2018.

[7] “STUDY: Banning Straws Could Lead To Environmental And Economic Complications.” Daily Wire. N. p., 2018. Web. 19 Aug. 2018.

[8] “Los Angeles Times – STD cases in California reach record high for third year in a row.” N. p., 2018. Web. 19 Aug. 2018.

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