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Banning Plastic Straws–A Second in a Series on Plastics in the Environment

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Alexa Vega

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People may think that plastic straws are harmless; it’s just plastic, right? Well, that’s false. Plastic straws are one of the causes of pollution in the ocean. These straws are easily adding up as we use about 500 million straws every day. According to an article by National Park Service, 500 million straws would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That’s equivalent to 46,400 school buses every year.

Plastic straws are also one of the top ten objects that are picked up on beach clean-ups. According to a National Geographic article by Laura Parker,Straws are the latest on an expanding list of individual plastic products being banned, taxed, or boycotted in an effort to curb seaborn plastic trash one study.Plastic, in general, is harming our environment. A big percentage of the plastic straws end up in the ocean which harms marine life. In 2015, a video of a sea turtle with a straw inside its nose went viral. People realized that something should be done about plastic straws.

On September 18, 2018, Jerry Brown, the Governor of California signed a bill banning restaurants from handing out plastic straws to customers unless they request for one. California is the first state to take action. The new law does not apply to convenience stores or fast food restaurants. According to CNN, “…plastic pollution kills thousands of marine animals every year. Researchers found 80 plastic bags in the stomach of a dead pilot whale that washed ashore in Thailand.” If restaurants violate the law they will receive two warnings but after that, those businesses will face fines. A Caribbean island called Dominica, a Caribbean island,  is also taking action starting in January 2019. The government will ban more than just plastic straws; styrofoam and other plastic utensils on on the list. Seattle is also part of the growing plastic ban movement.

Banning plastic straws would not be a bad thing. There are alternatives. Metal, bamboo, paper, glass, and silicone straws are available and won’t do as much harm to the environment. There’s a straw called ‘harvest straw’ which is made up of a grain. These straws can be found on http://www.harveststraws.com. The purpose is to provide a better option and create straws that won’t pollute the environment. In fact, their straws will enhance the environment.

Even though places around the world are taking steps for a better environment; we have to do more than just banning plastic straws. It will minimize the damage that plastic is causing but it will not solve everything. There are more than just plastic straws floating around the ocean. For now, whenever you go to a restaurant, or a coffee shop think about where that plastic straw will end up. It’s better to have an alternative; let’s avoid using plastic straws.

SOURCES

“The Be Straw Free Campaign” National Park Service, July 08, 2018 https://www.nps.gov/articles/straw-free.htm Accessed September 28, 2018

“Straws: Why They Seriously Suck” 1 Million Women, July 14, 2017 https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/straws-why-they-seriously-suck/ Accessed September 28, 2018

Parker, Laura, “Straw Wars: The Fight to Rid the Oceans of Discarded Plastic” National Geographic, February 23, 2018 https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/plastic-straws-ocean-trash-environment/Accessed September 29, 2018

Chapman Ben, “Plastic straws are disappearing from Wetherspoons as environmental campaign gathers pace” Independent, September 27, 2017 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/plastic-straws-jd-wetherspoons-environment-campaign-recycling-refuse-the-straw-all-bar-one-a7969791.html Accessed September 28, 2018

Ellis Ralph; Moon Sarah,“California bans plastic straws in full-service restaurants — unless customers request one” CNN, September 20, 2018 https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/20/us/plastic-straws-banned-in-california/index.html Accessed September 29, 2018

Riotta Chris “Dominica will ban plastic straws and styrofoam by January 2019” Independent, August 10, 2018https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/dominca-caribbean-island-plastic-ban-straws-styrofoam-theresa-may-hurricane-maria-a8486776.html Accessed September 28, 2018

“Swap your Straw Resources” The Last Plastic Straw, https://thelastplasticstraw.org/resources/ Accessed September 28, 2018

Perry M. David, “BANNING STRAWS WON’T SAVE THE OCEANS” Pacific Standard, May 31, 2018 https://psmag.com/environment/banning-straws-wont-save-the-oceans.Accessed September 29, 2018

PHOTO SOURCES

NaturalNeo, “Organic Bamboo Straws with Coconut Fiber Brush 20cm 8″ Drinking Biodegradable Reusable Kids and Adults | Set of 10 Assorted Sizes with Bag | Handcrafted Natural Alternative to Plastic By NATURALNEO” Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CS7HRSH?pf_rd_p=c2463b52-1139-4aba-9ac9-26d103f6c586&pf_rd_r=00KWDNPJ7JRM7AESRP33 Accessed October 5, 2018

Softy Straws,“Big Reusable Silicone Straws for Tumblers – Best BPA Free No-Rubber Reuseable Smoothie Drinking Reuse Straw for 20 or 30oz Yeti Tumbler – Flexible, Collapsible, Chewy, Bendy, Safe for Kids/Toddlers” Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WJF1TEK?aaxitk=rAq9gQn49CtOD-e-yOZ6ow&pd_rd_i=B00WJF1TEK&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=3ff6092e-8451-438b-8278-7e94064b4d42&pf_rd_s=desktop-sx-top-slot&pf_rd_t=301&pf_rd_i=silicone+straws&hsa_cr_id=7882777180201&sb-ci-n=asinImage&sb-ci-v=https%3A%2F%2Fimages-na.ssl-images-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FI%2F71tWXqRVuHL.jpg&sb-ci-a=B00WJF1TEK Accessed October 5, 2018

YIHONG, “YIHONG Set of 8 Stainless Steel Straws Ultra Long 10.5 Inch Drinking Metal Straws For Tumblers Rumblers Cold Beverage (4 Straight|4 Bent|2 Brushes)” Amazon https://www.amazon.com/YIHONG-Stainless-Drinking-Tumblers-Rumblers/dp/B01L1YXQEU/ref=pd_ybh_a_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=5CRSW7RW5Z6JE4ZFRBG3 Accessed October 5, 2018 

Harvest Straws, http://www.harveststraws.com Accessed October 5, 2018

“Straws Suck: Turtle” Ads of the Wolrd, July 26, 2018 https://www.adsoftheworld.com/media/print/greenpeace_straws_suck_turtle Accessed October 5, 2018

Varlan Horia,  flickr, November 11, 2008 https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]  Accessed October 5, 2018

 

 

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Alexa Vega, Writer

I'm a senior this year, and I'm very to excited to work with the school Publications team. I love to take pictures and hiking. I plan to study business...

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Banning Plastic Straws–A Second in a Series on Plastics in the Environment