Confetti Is A Harmful Way To Celebrate Graduation

It’s the end of another semester at FIU, and seniors are anxiously awaiting the day they walk across the stage and hear President Rosenberg go on about license plates. 

But as the saying goes, “pics or it didn’t happen.” You’ve seen them–wearing a white lace dress and heels or a three-piece maroon suit, Macy’s tag just removed.

Graduation pictures have become a staple of actually graduating and a good side hustle for your starving-artist, desperate “let’s shoot” posting friend. Also a staple of these photoshoots, an environmentally harmful flake in the palm of your hand: confetti.

Students toss handfuls of confetti in the air in celebration, probably capturing the shimmering pieces of plastic in the form of a Boomerang.

It’s supposed to be a beautiful moment, but there’s an uglier, more sinister side to these seemingly harmless festivities.

Confetti is a plastic-based material that takes thousands of years to decompose—and because it spreads everywhere, there’s no easy way of cleaning it up.

For the most part, these plastics end up reaching the oceans as a result of rainwater and wind. This should mean a lot to the FIU community.

We’ve seen the implications of water pollution firsthand, as our Biscayne Bay—the main attraction of our North campus—continues to be run on life support thanks to nutrient runoff and sewage leakage from all over Miami-Dade County. 

Just take a trip to any beach in Miami and look around, plastic is everywhere.

But a picture of a turtle with confetti in its nose hasn’t gone viral, so there is no big move to stop using the harmful decorations.

Our University’s efforts to help the environment have been nothing short of valuable, but it’s also unfortunate that we always take action when it’s too late.

As the effects of pollution and global warming become more stagnant year by year, it is true that laying off on confetti is only a fraction of what can be done to help the planet. Many have been quick to argue that reducing our usage of confetti and plastic straws means nothing when the powerful manufacturing companies that generate these products continue to be the world’s biggest pollutants.

But as a university that prides itself on being eco-friendly, it is important that we reduce waste wherever we can. If that means using alternatives like paper-confetti instead or getting rid of these eco-hazards entirely, then we think it is a good move.

So before you pick up a bag of those pesky plastic pellets, consider Mother Nature’s feelings for a minute.

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