Everyone knows that plastics take approximately 1000 years to decompose into smaller pieces, which means they won’t just disappear like a piece of paper washed away by the rain, even if you throw them into the ocean. What’s terrifying is that marine animals tend to eat plastic bags which will kill them later on because they think that plastic bags are jellyfish.
Studies say that eight million tons of plastic flow into the ocean every year, and straws comprise merely 0.025 percent of that.
So you might be wondering, among every other plastic that could have been the major focus of recent environmental campaigns, why the straws?
This is in part because, for most able-bodied people, the straw is something you can easily do without. Eliminating plastic straw usage rarely requires a drastic change in behavior. You can still enjoy your drinks without using plastic straws. Plastic bags, however, although being a ‘one-time-usage’ product similar to plastic straws, serve a better purpose as they help carry our goods from the supermarket.
Another reason why straws became the focus point is because of this video that started to go viral in 2015. Texas A&M graduate student, Christine Figgener happened to be out tagging some sea turtles as part of her research in Costa Rica when she noticed something encrusted in the nose of one of the male turtles. The team thought that it was some sort of parasite living inside the turtle but they soon figured out it was actually a plastic straw.
This video strongly shows that even plastic straws are a threat.
About 61 percent of the world’s 356 turtle species are threatened or already extinct, and the decline could have ecological consequences.
So it’s time to ditch all kinds of plastic. Be straw free, and sip your coffee.