Plastic straws should be banned

Plastic Straw Ban is a step in the right direction

Jasper Green, The Rubicon Editor

A plastic straw ban would not completely solve the problem of pollution in America, but it is a public step in the right direction, with the hope of promoting more environmentally conscious lifestyle choices. The United States makes up five percent of the world’s population, consumes 30 percent of the world’s resources, and creates 30 percent of the world’s waste according to The Last Plastic Straw. In order to combat this country’s plastic gluttony, there needs to be plastic reform starting with straws and eventually with all plastic that poses a threat to the environment.

Start Small with the twin cities and see where it goes. Maybe it would get more attention.

— Seth Grewe

From a study conducted by Australian scientists Denise Hardesty and Chris Wilcox, there could be approximately 8.3 billion plastic straws around the coastlines of the world, a large portion of which coming from the United States. According to One Green Planet, over 1,000,000 marine birds and around 100,000 other marine animals, such as fish and sea turtles, die from plastic consumption every year. While this is only 4 percent of the 9 million tons of plastic that are added to the oceans every year, straws are especially harmful because of their size and shape. Because of how long straws are, they can get stuck in a bird’s esophagus and restrict the airway, causing the bird to choke.

The consumption of plastic is a major issue because once it gets in, it never gets out. According to One Green Planet, the petroleum bi-product polypropylene, which straws are made out of, does not naturally decompose in the environment. Instead, it decomposes into smaller and smaller pieces, and accumulates into large quantities making it easier to get into the food chain. Although fish consume relatively small the pieces of plastic it can travel quickly up the food chain as each secondary and tertiary consumer is consuming all of the plastic inside their prey. Humans are not immune to the consumption of microplastics either, and according to, microplastics can be found in the body of every human, especially in fat cells and breast milk. According to Plastic Pollution Coalition, the chemicals that leach into the body from plastics are linked to causing cancers, birth defects, and other health issues. Moreover, these chemicals get into the groundwater and then into lakes and rivers.

Is holding onto the freedom of the straw worth destroying the natural order to the environment? Some say that the abolition of plastic straws would detrimentally affect disabled people, however reusable straws are not that overly expensive. Yes, even after the ban of plastic straws, we will still be hurting the environment almost as badly, but the point is not to solve the issue through one law. If it were that simple, it would have been done already. The point is to create many many laws that will chip away at our plastic gluttony and make the world a safer place one step at a time. Which side of history are you on?