We need to forget plastic straws

Why don’t you pick it up?
April 23, 2018
The Hamerkop nest by the road
April 30, 2018
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Useful but not unnecessary. This is what plastic straws are. In some instances, they are necessary but we have classified them now as an item we cannot live without.  They come in different colours to entice children. Who wants to drink directly from a bottle or restaurant glass which we do not know whether it was disinfected or not!

Plastic straws are not disposable. They seem small but they pose a huge threat to our oceans. The best part is, we can choose to say no to straws. They are actually not as necessary as you may think. What is wrong with drinking from the bottle itself?

History of the straw

Humans are very innovative beings. Sumerians were the first known people to make straws specifically for drinking beer. This ancient straw was found in a Sumerian tomb dated 3,000 B.C.E. It was a gold tube inlaid with the precious blue stone lapis lazuli. The bombilla, a straw-like metal device was used by the Argentines and their neighbours. The bombilla was both a straw and sieve for drinking mate tea and was used for hundreds of years.

Years later in the 1800s, a ryegrass straw was invented. But because if its tendency to become mushy, the paper straw replaced it. Then in the 1960s plastic straws were invented. Plastic straws are made from the petroleum by-product propylene. In a larger size, propylene is recyclable, but because straws are so small and thin, they, along with other small single-use items like bottle caps, go through cracks in a recycling conveyor belt ending up in landfills as they suck towards the ocean. Sucks to think about it does it?

Plastic straws

Imagine all these plastic straws in the ocean © Pixabay

However, there are several ways you can send a message and do your part to leave our oceans free from plastic straws and other single-use plastic items.

Say No to straws in general

They are not as important hence not necessary. We use straws only for a few minutes and trash it. It is so easy for this item to get into our waterways. Especially when it rains, this item easily floats on what bypassing barriers since they are small and flexible.

It does not hurt to say no to single-use plastic straws at a restaurant, party and even at home. It only causes more harm to fish, seabirds and sea animals such as turtles. Plastic waste reduces the storage volume of their stomachs, ultimately causing them to starve. Imagine ingesting a plastic straw and feeling full all the time. You wouldn’t enjoy it one bit. So why would you rather have other species with whom we share our planet with to suffer because we want to live simpler lives sucking our sweet drinks away?

Say no to straws

 

Use reusable or edible straws

You will not believe the alternatives we have for plastic straws. From bamboo to glass to stainless steel to silicone. There are even reusable straws you can bend. The silicone type even comes in different colours.

We even have reusable straws that can be eaten made from fruit textured bases or seaweed. So now, we can eat our straws. This type of straw is completely biodegradable. This got me thinking, we could make straws from sugarcane as the texture base. Anyway, edible straws are an amazing initiative which even with a high demand for the use of straws. We do not have to worry about plastic straws swimming in the ocean instead of fish.

Advocate for a ban of plastic straws by the government

Before we go back to the plastic straw story, what happened to the plastic bag ban. We have moved to protect water towers we are forgetting we have a plastic bag ban in place. I’m beginning to see more of the clear plastic bags around. Why?

Anyway, when the laws become lenient it becomes difficult to implement or even have citizens supporting suggested bans. The Queen of England has banned plastic straws in all her palaces. Restaurants in Malibu, California,  Seattle, Davis and San Luis Obispo, California, Miami Beach and Fort Myers have banned or promoted the limited use of plastic straws. Glasgow in Scotland has banned plastic straws in council buildings. The EU wants single-use plastic straws banned from all member states by 2030. What stops us as plastic bag ‘banners’ to also ban plastic straws?

As we seek to phase out single-use plastics from our world, let us remember the unnecessary drinking straw.

Let’s stop sucking.

Say no to plastic straws.

To a plastic straw free world.

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Vicki Wangui

Vicki Wangui is a believer in all things beautiful. A believer in spreading information in regards to environmental awareness. A believer in sharing all that is good in Kenya's natural world. A believer in speaking truth with no boundaries. Do you have a story, photo, experience or message you need to share? Send your work to vicki@nyikasilika.org or vickiwangui26@gmail.com.
Share The Wild Side
Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui is a believer in all things beautiful. A believer in spreading information in regards to environmental awareness. A believer in sharing all that is good in Kenya's natural world. A believer in speaking truth with no boundaries. Do you have a story, photo, experience or message you need to share? Send your work to vicki@nyikasilika.org or vickiwangui26@gmail.com.

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