There's been a lot of fuss made over certain restaurants and cities banning plastic straws in an effort to help reduce trash pollution in the ocean. And while that is a great step to take, it's worth noting that all kinds of garbage can kill sea life — not just straws.
Recently, a finetooth shark washed up on a Florida beach with a plastic hat brim wrapped around its head and gills, per ABC 10 News.
St. Johns County Parks and Recreation found the fish and posted a photo to Facebook to further spread awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution.
(Warning: The following images show dead sea animals and may be upsetting.)
The poor shark never stood a chance against an unforgiving plastic hoop perfectly shaped to slip over its head.
The outlet noted that there will be a necropsy to determine the exact cause of death — but a cursory glance shows that the hat definitely didn't help.
As the Facebook post noted, the shark's death — whether via the plastic or not — highlights the struggle sea animals face against our garbage.
As Azula reported in July, a sea turtle washed up dead in Alabama.
It had been suffocated with a plastic beach chair.
And according to the Miami Herald, in August, another sea turtle washed up trapped in a chair — this time in Florida.
A barstool helped take the life of this endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle.
And these are just the animals who lost their lives to large discarded items of garbage. It doesn't even take into consideration the sea life who die from eating smaller plastics like bags or getting entangled in fishing gear.
According to the Miami Herald, an estimated 300 million tons of plastic inhabit our oceans alongside the sea life.
That includes everything from tiny microplastics on up to these larger pieces like chairs.
As Azula previously reported, the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2017 found all kinds of trash. The top 10 items found all contained plastic — things like bottles, bags, straws and takeout containers.
But the cleanup also found a lot of these more unusual items.
Like 9,065 appliances, 113 chairs and 3 hot tubs.
Courtesy Ocean Conservancy
There were also 30,393 items of clothing found. Who knows how many of those were hats ready to strangle a sea creature?
So, yes, straws are a problem. But until we stem the flow of all garbage into the sea — we're going to keep having to read news stories like these.