People are taking a stand against plastic straws. On July 1, Seattle, Washington, became the first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws. Eight days later, Starbucks announced plans to phase out single-use plastic straws by 2020. More companies and governments soon followed.
Plastic is not biodegradable. It is harmful to the environment. Some say banning plastic straws is an important step toward saving our planet, but others think plastic-straw bans are inconvenient, unnecessary, and unfair. Here, two TFK Kid Reporters weigh in.
by TFK Kid Reporter Josh Lee, 12
Plastic straws may help you take a drink without spilling, but the long-term costs are too high. Americans use 500 million drinking straws each day. When they are thrown away, they pollute our landfills and oceans. Marine animals sometimes mistake the plastic for food. There’s a viral video on YouTube that shows a turtle with a straw stuck up its nose! It’s okay for people to be attached to using straws, but there are good alternatives to plastic ones. People can buy paper or steel straws to carry with them. Many cities across the U.S. have restricted the use of plastic straws unless a person requests one. Passing more laws to ban plastic straws will not solve the problem, but it would be a good first step.
by TFK Kid Reporter Maria Suarez, 1o
Plastic straws should not be banned until we can find alternatives that are affordable, environmentally friendly, and acceptable for disabled people. Why? Many people with disabilities rely on flexible straws to drink safely and independently. Without plastic straws, people might use paper straws. But producing paper products uses a lot of energy. Plus, it creates air and water pollution. And paper can be used only once. Plastic can be reused and recycled. My dad and I wash and reuse nontoxic plastic straws. Finally, it is wrong to think that banning plastic straws will save the oceans. Instead, we should teach people to properly dispose of trash so it doesn’t end up on beaches or in waterways.
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