Straws are once again front and center in the ongoing debate about plastic waste, and not even crazy or bendy variety are safe.
According to King 5, a Shoreline kindergartner is asking local city council members and community members to abstain from plastic straws in April. The student saw footage of a whale that had ingested a plethora of plastic detritus. She now hopes to raise awareness about the greater environmental impact.
“People investigated the whale from inside,” she told King 5. “They figured out that there were 60 pounds of plastic in its stomach stuck, and the whale died.”
It’s estimated that Americans use hundreds of millions of straws each day, with an untold amount of those ending up in the ocean. The gradual buildup can pose a serious threat.
Once in the ocean, straws wind up harming marine life who think they’re food. The plastic can break down into small pieces as well, and leave the water polluted and toxic.
“I’m sure the Shoreline city council shouted this 5-year-old down,” joked KIRO Radio’s Ron Upshaw. “Because there’s nothing more adorable than a 5-year-old being sad that a whale died.”
Seattle banning straws in July
A Seattle ordinance will take effect in July prohibiting Seattle eateries from dispensing plastic straws or utensils, and will be able to offer compostable or reusable versions in their place. Straw enthusiasts will still be able to purchase them at grocery and supply stores. As for Shoreline, several council and community members are agreeing to give up straws personally. No legal ordinances are currently being proposed, however.
Ron wondered if there are additional solutions. “Can’t we invent a machine to go around to these islands of plastic floating in the ocean and gobble up the plastic into a barge?” he said.
“In Central America and South America they take plastics and make them into bricks, and use the Lego-like bricks to make homes for poor people. Why don’t we do that? I think we just solved it.”
Learn more about this student’s straw cause here.
Listen to the entire conversation here.