How Plastic Straws are killing marine animals and what are the alternatives

According to a study conducted by the  Plymouth University of  England, plastic pollution affects at least 700 marine species, while some estimates suggest that at least 100 million marine mammals  like Whales, Dolphins,Seals and Sea Lions are killed each year from plastic pollution.
Sea Turtles and Sea Birds are other species that are majorly affected by the plastic waste left on the beaches or disposed into our oceans.

Sea Turtles are the worst affected by Plastic Pollution of the Oceans
                                     

One might wonder how something as small as a plastic straw could end up causing so much havoc to the marine ecosystem.

HOW CAN A SMALL STRAW REALLY BE SUCH A VILLAIN ?


Plastic straws are single-use, lightweight, and made from Polypropylene, a material which cannot be easily recycled and is also degraded slowly.Plastic straws are preferred to be used only once before being discarded.
Plus, these plastic straws really are non-essential (we can drink soda without a straw -straight from the glass - right?). As a result, the negative environmental impact of plastic straws is much more disproportionate to its size given the sheer number of straws and the fact that they are difficult to get rid off .

WHAT ABOUT RECYCLING ?


Most plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. They drop through sorting screens and mix with other materials and are too small to separate, contaminating recycling loads or getting disposed as garbage.

EFFECT OF PLASTIC ON HUMANS AND MARINE FAUNA


                                                       
                                                    The carcass of a dead Albatross (Courtesy - Chris Jordan )

When plastic  makes its way into the ocean, instead of biodegrading or dissolving, it breaks down into tiny pieces known as 'micro-plastic' which poses great threats to marine life including fish.
                                                       
It is projected that by 2050, 99% of all sea bird species will have ingested plastic. Almost 50% of the these Sea Birds are likely to die once they ingest plastic. Unfortunately and alarmingly ,there already is evidence of micro-plastics in Shellfish, Sea salt and even  94% of U.S. tap water.

Scientists at the New Materials Institute ,University of Georgia  conducted a new study which discovered micro-plastics (particles that are smaller than dust or powdered sugar ) inside baby sea turtles. Of the turtles studies in this research, 100% were found to have eaten plastic.These baby sea turtles were likely to die due to ingested plastic.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES ?


Reusable Steel Straws can be a good alternative to plastic straws

 

SAY NO - Till the time we come up with the technology that can create a completely degradable plastic straw ,say  “No to PLASTIC straws"!
Every time you sit down in a restaurant , ask your server not to give you any plastic straws and also ask your kids to do the same.After all ,education about saving our planet has to start early and from with in our homes .

SWITCH - Make the switch to more Eco-friendly options like biodegradable bamboo straws and paper straws.This applies more to restaurants that serve drinks and beverages .

CARRY  - You can carry your own steel straw , a single person can use hundreds of plastic or paper straws in his lifetime.Why not switch to a steel straw that is easy to carry and clean and lasts a lifetime !

If you are convinced to get some steel straws for your family or your organisation then
Steel My Straws produces reusable straws made of high-grade, rounded stainless steel that last you a lifetime and help you commit to a #zerowaste lifestyle and a percentage of the proceeds from every SALE  will go for ocean conservation activities.

You can do your bit by visiting this link - Say No to Plastic Straws and Save the Oceans and ordering some reusable straws .

I am doing my bit by offering my readers a 10% discount on their order of reusable straws by using the coupon code ' PREETICHAUHAN ' when they visit the link and make a purchase.


Comments

  1. Oh My God...its terrible.
    I doubt if really any change will take place or not.

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    Replies
    1. Steps need to be taken however small they may be.Thank you for reading the post !

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  2. My heart aches each time I read about water pollution and how it's affecting the marine world. Posts like this one will be a reminder to each one of us as to how we can contribute in our own small way to make this world a better place.

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  3. Knowingly and many times unknowingly, we have been doing things to our planet which are the beginning to its end. We have definitely initiated the process and we should do whatever best we can to reduce/control it. Very nice article.. :)

    Utpal Khot

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  4. Great post, n very important n informative too. It is high time we understand the need of the planet that nurtures us. Little steps like spreading awareness can make a huge amount of difference.

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  5. Plastic has ruined our planet. It is the biggest tragedy of our planet

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  6. These are some great ideas. I agree it is high time we reduce plastic. We can drink directly instead of straws.

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  7. The way we humans are spoiling earth for other species is terrible. Every small effort counts and this is a great initiative.

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  8. I use bamboo straws. They are actually really good and aren't expensive at all.

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  9. I love articles like that. Let us all remember that we are not alone on this planet. We should be attentive to the flora and fauna around.

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  10. I have using paper straws at restaurants but I haven't started at home yet. This post makes me feel some urgency to do it...

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  11. I use Bamboo straws instead of plastic. I also have glass straws that I keep in my purse in a handy case.... for using when out. All plastics add up to a big problem. In Suffolk County Long Island... they have banned plastic bags. I think we have to do whatever we can to cut back... it is a big problem period...especially for our oceans :)

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  12. It's crazy. We switched to meta straws and don't miss the plastic ones at all. We also carry our own water bottles and not only is it less expensive, it makes us feel good.

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  13. Yes plastic straws have so many harmful effect including for our health and environment. thanks for suggesting another environment friendly option. Will check it for sure.

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  14. Omg this is so heart breaking I always used in restaurant but never used at home but definitely will make a point not to use here after... I hope all should take the step to save these animals..

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  15. This is so painful to see somehow we become so use to of every next gen things that is not only harming our health but also messing the whole chain of ecosystem. never thought of that a little straw can also be so harmful.
    Archana Srivastava

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  16. I am so glad you brought it up Preeti, my son did a project on this last year dear and we were aghast to discover such heart-wrenching facts. We have corrected ourselves from then on

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  17. I have been exploring the option of steel straws. They are indeed a much better alternative. Plastic has been doing enough damage to our ecosystem.

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  18. You pointed out a very valid point. Plastic items like plastic straws are taking the lives of lots of marine animals and it is high time to say goodbye to these plastic items.

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  19. Such a small thing and a high damage. Good thing that with plastic ban, straws are also disappearing from shelfs. I was unaware about anything like steel straws. They are just awesome.

    - Ujjwal Mishra Mywordsmywisdom

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  20. How bad we humans are. Water pollution is dangerous and we need to stop it at any cost. Really thought provoking post. I wish we understand the gravity of the situation.

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  21. It's high time we all need to understand and take care of our nature and this water pollution is something only we can stop ....you have really pointed out right pointers

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  22. Each family member of my house has a steel straws that we often use to carry while going out. I read about this long time ago and since then made sure never to use the plastic straws.

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  23. Oh I didnt know that simple plastic straws were such a hazard for marine life. I am in future totally refraining myself from buying or using it. Thanks for this awareness post.

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  24. My heart cries whenever I see such reports on media channels and journals you have rightly pointed out that we are the ones who are destructuring mother nature it is time we get serious and try to rescue before it is too late

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  25. Steel straws are a great replacement for plastic straws. Atleast we can do this much to save aquatic lives. We unknowingly trash used straws without thinking of the danger it may be causing to aquatic creatures.

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