In the United States, we use about 50 million plastic straws every day. That’s enough to wrap around the earth’s circumference 2.5 times. Plastic straws are among the 10 most common pieces of trash found on our beaches here in Maine. Each single-use plastic straw remains in the environment for more than 90 years.
Many end up in the ocean, where they are often ingested by marine species. From plankton to whales, animals across ocean ecosystems have been contaminated by plastic. Plastic has been found in 59% of sea birds like albatross and pelicans and in 100% of sea turtle species. Increasingly, scientists are concerned about the potential threat of plastics to species at the top of the marine food chain: namely, humans. More than 25% of fish sampled from seafood markets around the world contain plastic.
Skip the straw! Take a step toward cleaning up the oceans by refusing plastic straws in restaurants. Enjoy your drink without a straw. Suggest to your server that straws be served only on request. Better yet, tell restaurant managers and owners that paper straws are preferable. Or, carry your own reusable stainless steel straw. These are available in local stores and on line, and they come, if you wish, with cleaning brushes and a case. Some are even collapsible.
The Boothbay Region Committee for a Plastic-Free Peninsula (PFP) is developing a campaign to reduce or eliminate from our community single-use plastic items such as bags and straws. Stay tuned!
If you want more information on the harm plastic straws do to the environment, check out these websites, from which the statistics cited above were drawn: www.skipthestraw.com www.blueoceansociety.org or www.oceanconservancy.org.
Contact the PFP if you wish to help. Call Nancy Adams at 633-6791 or Doreen Dun at 633-4228. Remember that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.