The Last Straw

by Julia Dickinson


January 21, 2019

It is starting to happen. The extinction of some of the most mystical, mysterious, and memorable creatures on the Earth. One by one by one, they drop dead. The human race’s ignorance will kill these creatures if we don’t try to stop our bad habits. We are killing our planet’s ocean life.

Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard of whales washing up on the beach, dead, and turtles being choked by soda can rings. If you’ve heard of these, you’ve also probably heard about the negativity towards plastic straws. The banning of these little tubes of plastic could be the first step to saving a whole ocean of animals.

Plastic straws can be harmful to many marine animals, including sea turtles, dolphins, and numerous sea birds. “When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50% mortality rate,” the organization For A Strawless Ocean states. They are one of many organizations working towards banning plastic straws. Straws put creatures’ lives at risk, all because we like to sip our drinks through a slim, hollow cylinder of plastic.

Before this whole straw thing came up in the media, we mainly thought of the plastic in the ocean as being all plastic bags and soda can rings. However, few people know that plastic straws are one of the top 10 killers of marine life. Who knew that such a small piece of plastic could kill so many animals?

California has already begun to make laws against plastic straws. On September 20th, the governor, Jerry Brown, okayed the straw ban that affects all sit-down restaurants in California. This won’t take place until 2019, but it is a step in the right direction.

You may be asking yourself, “Well, if the straws aren’t made out of plastic, what will we do?” We will be trying many ways. People have already started to purchase reusable metal straws that you carry with you to restaurants. There have also been plans for paper, pasta, and compostable straws.

You could also go no straw. Starbucks announced in July that they will begin to discontinue straws in their stores. To replace that, they have devised a cap that is recyclable. It won’t harm sea life.

Next time you need a straw, think about it. Is there any way you can avoid hurting our ocean animals? I urge you to think about this whenever the matter comes up. The sea creatures have never done anything to us, so why should we do anything to them?

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