It is time for us to ban plastic strawsBefore we get into our topic, I would like to ask some questions. How often do your guys use plastic straws? Every day? …..
Which plastic products can NOT be recycled? A. plastic bags. B. plastic bottles. C.
plastic straws. D. all of these can be recycled.
(a. Actually, a few of plastic bags and bottles cannot be recycled, but now, most of these plastic bags or bottles are banned by the law. So A and B are not the correct answers.) But why the plastic straws cannot be recycled? And what are the consequences for that? Today, our topic is about the impact of using plastic straws. According to (), most of the plastic straws are rarely been recycled, for the reason that they are too small and fall through the conveyor belts and get lost in the sorting process.
Most of them will go to the landfill or go to the ocean directly, rather than restart their life again like other plastic products such as plastic bags or plastic bottles. University of Georgia environmental engineering professor Jenna Jambeck calculates that nearly 9 million tons of plastic straws (8 million metric tons) end up in the world’s oceans and coastlines each year, as of 2010, according to her 2015 study in the journal Science.(Borenstein) 9 million tons. Straws on average weigh so little — about one sixty-seventh of an ounce or .
42 grams, which means each year, there are 214 billion of plastic straws get into ocean. However, even though every year there are such large amount of the plastic straws been thrown into ocean, and there will be more waste plastic in the sea than the fish by 2050 said by Ellen MacArthur, a English sailor who has seen more ocean around world than most of people (Wearden), we did not pay enough attention to plastic straws, especially comparing to plastic bags and bottles .Last year, Thames River Watch found record-breaking amounts of waste in its September clean-up, with 19 straws found in a single square metre. Avid scuba diver Kasey Turner found 319 straws on a single 20-minute snorkel in Manly, Australia. After 24 hours, Kasey found 294 in the exact same place.
() When we search up the keyword “plastic bags”, there are about 136, 000, 000 results related to that. When we search up the “plastic bottles”, there are about 138,000,000 results related to that. However, when we search up the “plastic straws”, there are only 2,050,000 results about that, where the results for plastic bags and bottles are 67 times of that of plastic straws. We have talked about the plastic pollution and related solution for a long time, but we always exclude plastic straws and did not generate effective solution for that. All of them are plastic products, and they are similar. Why we have bias on plastic straws and did not give enough attention to them. Besides, Think about that we can reuse the plastic bottles to fulfill the water again, we can use the plastic bags to contain other things.
BUT. who will reuse the plastic straws for the second time? Will you keep your plastic straws for the next drinking? The life span for the plastic straws might just few minutes or seconds, and they will face the soil or cold ocean water for the rest 1000 years. Thus, since we have ignored the plastic straws for a long time, and the plastic straws single-used and rarely can be recycled, it is time now for us to pay attention to this issue. There is a video on the youtube (with 23,930,660 views) talking about a sea turtle with straw up its nostril.
When marine biologists try to get the plastic straws out, the turtle keep bleeding and look so miserable. This turtle is only one of the tremendous examples for the marine animals who got injured from the plastic straws. The low density of plastic straws allows them to float at the sea surface, so it is easier for marine animals such as seabirds and turtle to eat them as food, especially there are more and more plastic products in the ocean rather than their prey. “Seabirds can ingest as much as 8 percent of their body weight in plastic, which for humans ‘is equivalent to the average woman having the weight of two babies in her stomach,’ says Hardesty of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Ocean scientist Sherry Lippiatt, said that ‘for every pound of tuna we’re taking out of the ocean, we are putting two pounds of plastic in the ocean'”(Borenstein) It is easy for us to get off a plastic straw, but for the turtles, or the seabirds, the plastic straws might stay with them, reduce the storage volume of their stomachs, block their trachea until they died due to starve or smother. Fortunately, the turtle in the video is saved by the marine biologists. But we don’t know whether this turtle will suffer from the same situation again and whether there are marine biologists to save them.
Every year, more than 1 million of seabirds are killed by straws. Birds are not the only victims of plastic consumption. About 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic end up in the digestive systems of fish in the North Pacific alone. Also, the consumption of plastic products is then transferred into the food chain where animals such as whales, dolphins, and seals are affected. Worldwide, about 100,000 marine mammals unintentionally consume plastic products each year. Turtles have been observed eating twice as much plastic as they did 25 years ago. The plastic items will block their stomach preventing them gain proper nutrients which ultimately leads to starvation. Also, the toxic chemicals released by partially digested plastics can disrupt an animal’s reproductive system.
This has been observed in sea turtles, and since most sea turtles are considered to be endangered, this spells bad news for future populations. (Montgomery) It is impossible for us to save every or most of the marine animals who got injured from plastic products. Thus, the effective solution for that will be reduce the usage of the plastic straws. Moreover, another reason to drop the straw is the presence of many chemicals in the plastic. Most straws contain BPA and other petroleum based plastic which can easily leak chemicals in the liquid, especially if it’s a hot cup that heats and melts the plastic or we bite the straws while we are drinking.
These plastic chemicals are known to cause obesity and, in extreme cases, even cancer. Also, we will swallowing excess air unconsciously which will cause gas and bloating in our stomach. If we sip with straw in the middle of our mouth, it will concentrate the exposure of sugar to one area. It is easier for our teeth to get cavity or decay over prolonged usage.(Sarika)Furthermore, under many situation, it is unnecessary for us to use plastic straws.
We can drink without straws for most of the drinks. ……. Also, some countries are already started to reduce using plastic straws. Many restaurants in the U.K. have already banned single-use plastic straws. In April, the McDonald’s in U.
K. claims that they would start using paper straws rather than plastic straws. Also, for some American cities, the plastic straws are also being banned. Such as Seattle, Miami Beach and Malibu, Calif. (Katie) Next time, when we use the plastic straws, please think about the sea turtles or the fish. They might suffer from the extreme pain because of the plastic straws we used.
Please think about the fact that we might meet these straws somehow in our dinner table. Please think about that the chemicals that might leach from the plastic straws. Please, start to avoid using the plastic straws, since we can drink most of the drinks without straws. At first, the plastic straws are invented for the disabled people to help them to drink.
Drinking liquid with plastic straws is more like a habit, which means it is changeable. Such many people can conquer the addiction to the cigarette, and quit smoking successfully. Why cannot we quit the smaller habit about drinking with plastic straws.