Many people’s knee-jerk reaction to the recent ban of plastic drinking straws was to heap ridicule upon California’s state officials for overreach and for being trivial.
At first glance, a plastic straw may seem insignificant, but it is actually an important issue. A REALLY IMPORTANT ISSUE!
Single-use plastic trash is one of the biggest environmental issues, if not THE biggest, facing the world today. Open that link and think about those stats for a minute!
More than a third of the surface of the ocean is covered in plastic trash right now, and we are consuming 2.5 million plastic bottles and perhaps as many as 500 million plastic straws per day – only a tiny fraction of which is ever recycled or incinerated. Guess where that stuff ends up?
If we don’t do SOMETHING soon then we will soon all live (if you can call it living) on an 8000-mile diameter trash heap.
So, yeah – the contribution of plastic straw disposal to ocean waste is a very small fraction of the problem, but you have to start somewhere and plastic straws are as good a place to start as any.
On the other hand, Mississippi (which is a natural wonderland that I love) recently passed legislation making it illegal for municipalities to pass more stringent regulations on plastic and foam fast food containers.
Mississippi does an awful lot right, especially with regard to conservation, but we got this one dead wrong!
At a time when we should be protecting the amazing natural resources of our state, nation, and world, we chose instead to protect the financial interests of corporate polluters.
So, I say, BRAVO, California! Mississippi could take a lesson from you.
Hopefully, plastic straws were only the first step and disposable plastic bags/film and styrofoam will be next on the chopping block and not just in California!