By Amy Nicholson
Plastic straws are the most recent cause-for-concern for environmentalists globally. The use of these plastic-polluters has been widely talked about, particularly on social media. Regardless of media interest, however, many people don’t understand the hype. Why all of a sudden plastic straws?
It all started when a YouTube video posted in 2015 went viral. In this video Christine Figgener, a Marine Biologist at Texas A&M University, noticed a turtle with something up its nose. The research team made their best effort to remove the item, and Figgener and her team initially thought they were “looking at a parasitic worm.” It was a major shock to discover that it was a man-made piece of plastic - a straw.
After the video went viral, many “No Straw” movements started to gain momentum across the world. Media coverage went through the roof after Seattle became the first major U.S. city to outright ban plastic straws and utensils. The thing about plastic straws is that they are useful for a brief moment. Then, they are discarded and have a noticeably negative impact on our environment. Large businesses such as Starbucks have also released statements saying that they have either banned straws or have plans to ban straws by a certain time. Wimpy is one of the first chain restaurants to start providing their customers with paper straws as an alternative.
So, what can you do?
Quite simply, you can start making a difference by limiting your use of plastic straws, or talking to the management of local restaurants and convincing them to stop. Another constructive way you to combat the issue is to purchase a reusable straw made of stainless steel or bamboo. These straws are easily accessible via websites and shopping apps like Takealot.com, FaithfulToNature.co.za, and Ali Express.
The “No Straw” movement is critically important because it highlights a problem far greater than plastic straws. Our oceans are ridden with small pieces of plastic that are harming our marine life in irreversible ways. By saying no to plastic straws, you are actively condemning the environmental destruction of our planet, and working towards a greener, healthier, happier environment!