Every time you order iced tea, soda, or iced coffee at a restaurant, do you always take a straw to sip it? The answer is most probably yes and most of the people you know also do the same. Plastic is bad – we all know that. But how bad is it? This is what we have discussed briefly in the article below.
Plastic pollution is destroying our planet at a staggering rate and plastic straws have a major role to play in that. Environmental advocates do not approve of the convenience of plastic straws over the havoc they are wreaking. A huge number of environmental awareness groups and other concerned individuals have been campaigning to eliminate the use of plastic straws from all the eating spots. However, they are still being used extensively.
Straws are everywhere
According to Ecocycle, over 500 million straws are being used every day in the US alone, which is just a little over 4% of the population of the world. Just imagine the number of plastic straws going into the garbage every day from across the globe. They can be found almost everywhere the drinks are sold. Since they are made from the single-use plastic, they can’t be recycled. This points to the fact that billions of straws are dumped each day. They make it to the landfills along with all the other garbage. Due to the fact that they are lightweight and made from plastic that has a very long lifespan, they are either carried away by water or by wind and end up in water bodies.
The rate at which water bodies of the planet are being polluted by plastic is alarming. Every year between 8 and 12 million tons of plastic is dumped into the water bodies and plastic straws are among the items found in the largest numbers.
Marine life and the straw terror
Straws and all other plastic pose a huge threat to the marine life. Straws are comparatively softer and thinner. Therefore, the aquatic animals and birds mistake it for food and choke on them. Some of them who are able to swallow it, get it stuck in their guts. This results in them being severely sick or dying from the cause. According to studies, 71% of the seabirds and 30% of turtles in water ingest plastic and this has emerged as one of the biggest reason of death in them.
The plastics that break in microplastics are more easily ingested by marine animals. Not only that, they release toxins into the water making the water bodies inhabitable and eventually end up blanketing the ocean floors.
Ditch the plastic straws
It is extremely crucial to ditch the plastic straws and switch to safer alternatives. We can start this by refusing the straws every time we are offered one. If the demand goes down, the supply of it will have to plummet. Plastic straws can be replaced by stainless steel, paper, or bamboo straws. Use the reusable or biodegradable straws and encourage others to do the same.