You're walking along a sandy beach when you spot an innocent sea turtle with a straw lodged in its
nostril and very ill. That incident prompted Seattle to become the first city in the U.S to implement a ban on plastic straws after a photograph of the sea turtle encounter went viral in 2015. Before that, we were oblivious to the amount of plastic floating in our oceans. During a fun-filled July 4th holiday at Oceanfront (one of the liveliest beaches in Virginia Beach), I was deeply appalled at the amount of trash littered throughout the sand. Not surprisingly, straws are one of the top ten items found during beach clean up.
While looking out at the ocean, one wouldn't dare think that those waters were filled with major garbage patches. Those patches are in each of the world's oceans - but the most substantial is located in the Pacific - where one patch is 2x bigger than the state of Texas! In Manly, Australia, a scuba diver found 319 straws during a 20 minute snorkel! That makes it all the more worrisome because straws aren't biodegradable and they don't dissolve. Instead, they break down into micro-plastics which is unfortunately found in sea salt, 94% of U.S. tap water and shellfish.
By the year 2050, 99% of all sea bird species will have ingested plastic. Unsurprisingly, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by that year as well. But, there is hope! Feb 22nd is National Skip the Straw Day - to remember the impact of single use plastics and efforts to stem the tide of litter and waste. Fortunately, there are a few eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws: glass, bamboo, silicone, metal and compostable. Of course, they are budget friendly and there are pros and cons to each
alternative so finding the one that suits you best is all in the matter of taste and what you prefer.
You can be the one that isn't contributing to the 500,000,000 plastic straws being used daily (and that's just in the U.S.A!!!) You can help save the oceans....one plastic straw at a time!
-Written By Robin Dziondziak