I’ve been enlightened by my thirteen year-old daughter, Sydney. (A typical day around here.) Her passion for change is contagious. After she wrote a report about plastic pollution, she shared her research and knowledge. We no longer use straws. In fact, if we use the straws flopped onto the restaurant table, she will smack our hands or hide them in our booth. I will summarize her extensive knowledge, but her complete report is here: Straw Ocean Pollution Report
We are a world of convenience. By the age of two, most of us learned to drink from a cup. We still have the ability, so why do we need a straw for a glass of water or soda or tea or daiquiri? I am aware certain disabilities require the use of a straw, but that does not account for the 500+ million straws that Americans use each day. (Enough to fill 125 school buses.) The tragedy – it is predicted that by 2050, seaborne plastics will overpopulate fish.
The lifecycle of a straw. After being used for a beverage, a straw is discarded. This could be littered on the ground or beach, thrown into the trash/landfill, or failed attempts to recycle. The light weight of straws allows them to fall from trash or fall through the sorting grates during recycling. Straws account for 10% of all beach trash.
Research shows there are plastics in sea salt and up to 94% of drinking water. Plastic is destroying marine habitats and poisoning sea life. A pelican may mistake floating plastic for food, swoop down to eat his prize, and the repeated plastic gets lodged in his gut until he can no longer eat. One-hundred percent of baby turtles recently studied had microscopic plastic inside. Fish or other sea life ingest plastics settled onto coral or the ocean bottom. This builds up in the fish to cause harm or death, and we may possibly ingest those plastics in seafood we eat. Turtles have had straws stuck up their nose and sea habitats destroyed by plastic.
How can we help? Just say NO to straws. Simply telling your server or restaurant drive-through person: “No straw please.” If you need a straw, buy a metal, reusable straw! They come in tiny packages to stick inside your purse or attach to your keychain, and come with tiny brushes to keep them clean. In addition to straws, eliminate plastic bottles for water or sports drinks. Get a bottle that keeps your drink cold and can be refilled many times a day without any waste. (Everyone cool has a Hydroflask.) Remember to bring the reusable bags that sit inside your van – actually inside the grocery store – and quit using plastic bags.
“Act like what you do makes a difference. It does.” -William James
“If you don’t like how the world is, you can change it. You just do it one step at a time.” Marian Wright Edelman
“Why you? – Because there is no one better. Why now? – Because tomorrow is too late.” Donna Brazille
[Quotes and facts stated above are referenced and cited in Sydney’s paper link above.]
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