To fully understand the benefits of using reusable drinking straws, we must first realize the impact of using plastic in general, especially the adverse effects it has on Oceans, our earth’s lifeline.
Realize the value
Ocean produces 70% of the oxygen on earth, it regulates the climate, and is a vital source of food. Besides this, Ocean has therapeutic properties and is the basis of many jobs related to sea activities. Oh, and the best vacations are done near the water, aren’t they? It should go without saying that Ocean’s significance is beyond comparison, right? So, what is all this “saving the environment”, “zero-waste”, “say no to plastic” buzz all about if we all realize the importance of Ocean? The question really is, do we truly realize the importance?
Realize the impact
- 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our ocean daily.
- 138 billion plastic stirrers are tossed out in America on an annual basis.
- The US discards 1 billion plastic toothbrushes a year.
- 79% of plastic waste is sent to landfills or the ocean, while only 9% is recycled, and 12% gets incinerated.
- Between 4.8 and 7 million tonnes of plastic pieces are dumped into our oceans yearly.
- Plastic has been found as far as 11km deep, contaminating the most remote places on Earth.
Impact of Plastic Pollution on Animal Life
- Marine plastic pollution has affected 100% of turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabirds of those examined.
- Over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed by ocean plastic every year.
- 700 species of marine animals are in danger of extinction.
- 1 in 4 shark species is threatened with extinction.
- 1 in 3 marine animals have been found tangled in plastic.
- Over 90% of all seabirds have plastic in their stomachs.
- If coral encounters plastic the likelihood of it becoming diseased increases from 4% to 89%
Menace of Plastic Straws
- Plastic straws take about 200 years to decompose – that’s TWO HUNDRED YEARS
- 50 million straws are used in the US per day.
- Scientists estimate 7.5 million straws pollute US coastlines and between 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on coastlines around the world.
- 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year, 50% of which is for single-use purposes but on the planet for at least several hundred years.
Realize and Act
The first step is realization, and second is doing something about it. How about we all start by making small changes in our lifestyle so that we and our future generations can enjoy a better earth, ocean, and environment. How about we start simple, how about we tell ourselves, our friends, and our family that use reusable drinking straws instead of single-use disposable plastic ones. Get one for you, gift a few to your friends and family, and start saving our home planet.
Recycling is one way of helping, but what’s recyclable has a lot to do with whether a market exists to resell a given material, such as recyclable plastic straws — short answer is, it is essentially impossible to recycle plastic straws, unlike many other single-use plastic items.
One option is either start by reducing the consumption of plastic straws, or just not use them. Better way would be to start using reusable stainless steels, glass, paper, bamboo straws. The beauty of such reusable straws is that we can carry them in our bags, purses, pockets, and use them whenever and wherever needed. Most now come with cleaning brushes and carry bags. Just keep a set in your car, or one in your office, one at home. These are the small changes that will greatly impact our oceans, but in a more positive way.
Time to save our home
It is very heartening to know that some states have started taking no-plastic straws initiative very seriously.
California bans full-service restaurants in the state from handing out single-use plastic straws to customers — unless they ask for one. https://edition.cnn.com/2018/09/20/us/plastic-straws-banned-in-california/index.html
As citizens of this earth, we have a responsibility to be more human, more empathetic, and more focused on doing something to protect our home. Help us make our planet a safer and much better place to live in. Help us to revive our earth, so that our children and generations to come can live happier and healthier. Help us by making small and simple changes at the very least.
Giving credit, where it is due