A Ban on Plastic Straws Will Benefit the Environment

Myla Zapf, Staff Writer

   Over 500 million plastic straws are used every day in the United States. Most of these straws end up in the ocean and pollute the water and kill marine life. Putting a ban on plastic straws will benefit our environment and mitigate pollution in our oceans.

   According to a website about plastic straws, 80 to 90 percent of marine debris is made up of plastic. Plastic is not a disposable product and, when in the ocean, can take anywhere from ten to one thousand years to break down. Enough straws to wrap around the Earth 2.5 times are used every single day (thelastplasticstraw.org). Imagine how many of those straws end up in our oceans.

   According to a website about the straw ban, if we don’t take action now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Plastic straws end up in the ocean through activities such as littering, being blown out of trash cans, or being left on beaches. Plastic straws are also one of the top ten items found during beach cleanups (strawlessocean.org). According to the website of a company dedicated to cleaning the oceans, plastic straws take over 200 years to decompose. Even after they are decomposed, they become microplastics and can never be completely broken down (4ocean.com).

   Plastic straws are bigger threats to marine life than people realize. According to a website dedicated to eradicating plastic straws, an estimated 71 percent of seabirds and 30 percent of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50 percent higher mortality rate (strawlessocean.org).

   When marine life ingest plastic materials it is not only harming them, but humans as well. The chemicals from the plastics stay in the animals’ bodies and are never released. When they are caught and consumed by humans, the same chemicals the animals ingested get ingested by humans as well. When people pollute the ocean, they are indirectly polluting their own bodies.

   If people want to make a difference and stop polluting the oceans with plastic straws there are many actions to take. “My family stopped buying plastic straws a while ago and now only use reusable straws,” said Junior Erin Nguyen. Requesting no straws with drinks when eating at a restaurant is an easy way to make a small step. People can reach out to their local restaurants and ask them to only serve straws upon request. Lastly, people can encourage eateries to switch to environmentally friendly straws such as those made of paper, glass, or stainless steel.

   Due to the many effects plastic straws are having on the environment, something needs to be done. Placing a ban on plastic straws will overall benefit the environment and promote healthier oceans for everyone.