It’s time to stop sucking – on plastic straws that is. And we are cheering efforts on a variety of fronts to ban them, a vital move that is necessary to help reduce microplastics endangering marine mammals, coral reefs and our waterways.
There’s plenty of action to call out to praise. In Seattle, a plastic straw (as well as plastic forks, spoons and knives) ban in restaurants goes into effect July 1. In New York City, Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr. has proposed legislation that would ban single-use plastic straws and stirrers at restaurants, food carts, large stadiums, bars and other eateries. Efforts to ban them are also underway in Malibu, Miami Beach, and Fort Meyers.
And Shelby O’Neil, 17, of California, who founded the nonprofit Jr. Oceans Guardians, earned a Girl Scout Gold Award for contacting at least a half-dozen companies urging them to get rid of plastic straws. Her efforts began after she noticed a commercial for Dignity Health, which owns 39 hospitals in the state, that showed a birthday candle being blown out by a plastic straw.
Dignity has since halved its use of straws, according to the Washington Post, which reported on her efforts. Several other companies she contacted, including Alaska Airlines, have also pledged to ban straws.
More than five trillion particles of plastic clog our world’s oceans, according to the PLOS One report. And Americans are doing their share to contribute to the problem, tossing out more than 33 million tons of plastic – including 175 million straws each day.
The plastic particles can choke and strangle marine life and make coral reefs more susceptible to disease.
The University of Portland, Knox College, Bon Appetit food service and the White Sox have joined the ban efforts to reduce plastic straw waste as well, Vox media reported.
The #Give a Sip and #StopSucking plastic straw ban efforts are part of a push by environmental and wildlife activists to eradicate plastic waste. Several nations, including Britain, Scotland and India, have taken steps to phase out all single-use plastic items by banning them or taxing them.
For more on how to support efforts to protect waterways and alternatives to plastic straws, read our Action Line story here.