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In 2021, the plastic straw will be banned in the European Union. More and more companies – the last one has been McDonald’s – renounce it to the evidence of the strong environmental impact of this invention of use and disposal, which pollutes oceans and drowns marine species.
American biologists extract a plastic straw of more than ten centimeters that was stuck in the nose of an olive turtle ( Lepdochelys olivacea ) in Costa Rica, making breathing difficult. A more common situation than we can think for this marine species: according to several scientific studies, plastic straws are one of the most common waste that can be found in oceans and beaches , along with cigarette butts and plastic wrappers.
This Monday, February 3 marks the International Day without Plastic Straws , a day to raise awareness among the citizens of the importance of not using this type of disposable products, which will be banned in the EU from 2021.
The evidence on the environmental impact of this invention is so great that we will soon be able to talk about the disappearance of a product that we consider everyday for decades. To the prohibitions of Brussels and many other countries, especially in the Pacific, is added the decision of many large companies to stop providing a plastic straw with the drink at the request of consumers themselves. McDonald’s has already announced that this February it will completely eliminate them to replace them with paper ones, a policy change that other restoration giants like Starbucks or Vips in Spain have already taken.
The contribution of straws to marine pollution is not negligible. These small plastic products , like many others of the same type, are not recycled. They end up in landfills, they are incinerated, or worse, they pollute our waters. There they accumulate thanks to the currents and form, together with other wastes, huge islands of garbage , which rotate in each of the five oceans of the planet getting bigger and bigger: the great garbage patch of the Pacific is already twice the size of France.
The straws are floating on all these islands, where birds, fish and other marine species often confuse them with food . This means that, for example, there are mothers who feed with what they think are nourishing snacks to their chick only to discover that the baby dies from a stomach swollen by plastic waste.
Plastics are not biodegradable: they break down into smaller and smaller pieces until they are microscopic, giving rise to microplastics. When marine life consumes these tiny pieces, their difficult degradation and the toxins they contain interfere with their respiratory and reproductive systems, causing serious health problems and even death.
Although in Spain the consumption of straws is not as high as the country that invented this product, since in the United States 500 million of these products are used to use and throw away, there is an important part of the population that uses them , which at the end of the year puts us in some 5,000 million used straws, a record within the EU. A habit harmful to the environment that has an easy solution. Or stop using an invention that until this century we didn’t know we needed – the plastic straw was patented in 1888 – or go on to use reusable and recyclable straws.
The options are multiple: stainless steel, wood, paper, glass, pasta, bamboo … Today they are sold to edible straws. Therefore, excuses are exhausted for defenders of plastic straws as quickly as the number of countries, cities and institutions that add to the prohibition of their use. Even in the city where the American Marvin Stone patented this invention 125 years ago, Washington DC , the plastic straw is already welcome.
Watch the Youtube below about how young girls are fighting to get straws banned…
Source: El Agora Diario