Editorial: Plastic Straws are Not Safe for the Environment

Lauren Cribbs, Reporter

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Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States and it is predicted that 8.3 billion straws are covering the beaches around the world.

Straws are causing deaths to many sea life creatures in the oceans.

Plastic pollution today is a catastrophic issue that is increasing dramatically. Straws are just a small part of the issue of plastic pollution, and the limitation of them can make a major difference. The Plastic Pollution Coalition is a coalition with more than 750 different businesses, and organizations that spread the “straw free” campaign to limit the use of plastic straws. The Coalition has many resources posted on their website to help show the importance of plastic pollution and why it should be stopped. They support the straw ban and encourage others to do the same. Seattle was the largest US city that banned plastic straws in 2018. The ban of plastic straws in restaurants and other businesses spread to Washington, D.C on January 1, 2019. Now most restaurants are only giving out straws if they are requested instead of giving them out voluntarily. With this small change the waste of plastic straws the numbers of pollution in the ocean will decrease. Straws are very small pieces of plastic which make it difficult to recycle. Many straws are thrown away in the garbage after one use and completely forgotten about. No one thinks of the consequences one small plastic straw can do to the environment.

The lives of many aquatic animals are in serious danger.  Straws not only harm sea life, but straws can potentially kill them. When straws are in the ocean for a long period of time they begin to break down into small particles called “microplastics”. When this occurs it forms potential threats to marine life. These “microplastics” are being ingested by sea life just by animals swimming in their own environment. Straws are among the top 10 items of garbage found on beaches around the world. Because of the small size of straws many animals mistake them as food. Straws are a cylindrical shape that causes animals to suffocate and die. According to a study done by For a Strawless Ocean, 100% of the baby sea turtles tested had ingested plastic, and were likely to die because of it. In a viral video posted in 2015, a team a of marine biologist are seen removing a plastic straw from a turtle’s nostril. This video changed the way many people viewed straws, and major corporations such as Starbucks and American Airlines began the elimination of straws. Straws cause so much harm to the lives of animals, and we have the power to make a difference.

Straws are a small part of a very large problem called plastic pollution. Plastic is very easy for people to get there hands on because they are affordable, and widely available. Everything we use has plastic in it. From the lining of milk cartons to small beads put in beauty products. Our world is being polluted by toxins let off by plastic. This garbage is being led into the oceans and according to Straw Free, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

Straws cause an increase in plastic pollution, and causes harm to animal life. We have the power to make a difference in this world and we should take advantage of it before it’s gone. It is predicted that by 2030 if no one makes an effort to save our planet, Earth will be at the stage where there is no return, so make a small difference and put down the straw.  

Click here to make a difference in plastic pollution and purchase a straw pack that includes 4 reusable straws and a straw cleaner.