Straw pollution

Jenna Balthazor, Staff Reporter

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Many people have been hearing about the dangers of plastic straws in the ocean. Recent studies have shown that on a daily basis, we use over 500,000 straws a day in America, and almost all of those end up in the ocean. When the straws get into the ocean, they affect the sea life. The movement that has been going on recently is the Save The Turtles movement. Sea turtles are being affected most by straw pollution. Straws end up in their noses and prevent them from circulating oxygen properly and can kill them. People believe that because plastic is recycled, that it is not a big deal, but the straws are too light to make it through the mechanical machines, therefore can not be recycled. There are reasons for a straw being needed though, like for people that are in the hospital or suffer from a disease that does not allow them to tilt a cup back. That is why reusable straws are the next best answer. While these straws would be just as harmful to the environment, you do not throw them away after using it once. They allow us to still have the luxury of a straw, without the harms that plastic ones bring with it. Another alternative are paper straws. Many people do not like the idea of a paper straw because it will become, “soggy and gross,” after being in whatever liquid they were in. However, this is not the case. The paper is coated in paraffin so it does not break down in your drink for a short period of time. But paper is biodegradable and eventually will break down into the soil unlike plastic straws that break down into micro-plastic, becoming even more harmful to marine life. One final solution is not using straws at all. No one is forced to use a straw. Straws are a luxury that we have made a part of our daily lives and we have taken them for granted. People need to be more aware of the effects that their actions have and realize the damage they are doing to our earth by using plastic straws, and not disposing of them properly. Simply going to Walmart or Target and purchasing reusable straws to carry with you when you go out to eat can make a tremendous difference. Everyone thinks that what they do will not make a difference but it all starts with one person. You can make a difference by not using plastic straws and by making sure all of your trash is disposed of properly.

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