At first, scientists thought it was a worm. They were studying sea turtles in Costa Rica. That is in Central America. One turtle had something sticking out of its nose. It could not breathe. Scientists pulled the object out. It was a plastic straw.
The scientists made sure the turtle was healthy. It scuttled back into the water. They posted a video of the rescue on the Internet. When people saw it, they were shocked.
The video motivated Diana Lofflin to start StrawFree.org. The group is in California. Its goal is to make people aware of the harm plastic straws cause to the environment. Lofflin hopes people will find alternatives to plastic straws.
“Straws are not necessary for enjoying a drink,” she says. “Saying no to a plastic straw is a way to make a difference in the world.”
Hope for the Future
A movement to ban plastic straws is growing. In California, it is illegal for food servers to give straws to customers who don’t ask for them. Seattle, Washington, has banned all plastic utensils.
Plastic litter gets into storm drains. It washes into rivers and oceans. Fish and other animals eat the plastic. It can kill them.
Nancy Wallace works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in Washington, D.C. She says schools should reduce the amount of plastic they use. Kids must do their part, too.
Says Wallace: “We’re pinning our hopes on the next generation to help solve this problem.”
A New Lid
Starbucks is banning plastic straws. The company says it will stop handing out plastic straws in all its stores by 2020. With 28,000 stores, that’s about 1 billion fewer straws a year.
How will you sip your drink? The company has made a new lid for its cups. Some call it a “sippy cup,” like those used by little kids. Unlike straws, the new lid can be recycled.