Written by Halle Brown, ESLLC 2017-2018
Human activity is harming the global ecosystem. This is a known fact that many attribute to our carbon dioxide and methane emissions or pollution from landfills. Plastic disposable straws, however small, are also a huge contribution to mankind’s footprint on the environment.
On average, Americans use and discard 500 million plastic straws every day (National Geographic). These straws end up in our oceans for sea turtles, birds, and other marine animals to ingest, causing them to die. In Costa Rica, researchers painfully removed a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose. Straws are also one of the most common items volunteers clean up from beaches because they are easily picked up by the breeze from nearby restaurants and travel to wildlife areas (The Washington Post).
Straws have become a commonality in cafés, households, and any restaurants that serve drinks. They are so prevalent; the average person does not give a second thought as to their impact. Except Milo Cress, who realized the mindless wastefulness of this habit and started a campaign called “Be Straw Free” which encourages restaurant owners not to offer straws unless patrons ask. The Plastic Pollution Coalition, The Last Plastic Straw, and Strawless Ocean are only a few of the organizations who have banded together to end this needless pollution.
We all are able to take a stand, too. Next time you are in a restaurant or coffee shop ask for a drink without a straw. This simple act completed more and more times can seriously affect our marine wildlife and help to reverse the damage we’ve already done.
Here is the link to the sea turtle video.