Tater Talks: The Tea on Straws

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Tater Talks: The Tea on Straws

Tatyana Hernandez, Writer

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The Environment

For years we have heard about the growing deterioration of our planet and for years we have done nothing. Pollution is a serious epidemic within not only our country but the whole world. In the United States, approximately 40% of its rivers and lakes are too polluted for human interaction, which means you can’t swim in it or use it. Water pollution and pollution, in general, has gotten so bad in recent years that more and more wildlife has been exposed to harsh chemicals produced by factories. This has become an extremely serious issue because of the fact that the environment relies on its wildlife just as much as wildlife relies on the environment. Without the wildlife helping to clean and balance the ecosystem, Earth has become so contaminated that even humans are being affected with diseases and other infectious bacteria.

The Ban

Although many cities are starting to take charge and reduce the use of plastic straws, Santa Barbara has completely banned the dispersal of straws and other plastic items. California has become one of the first states in the U.S to not freely give out these small tubes of plastic, but only when specifically asked upon. While California is starting a trend with this new movement, many states have also begun to follow. In Washington, Florida, and New Jersey, many towns have started to also limit and or ban their use of single-use straws.

What’s the Point?

Although the plastic straw ban seems like a good idea it is also an inconvenience for many people as well. As everyone knows, hundreds of thousands of people have disabilities that prevent any hand to mouth movement. Due to their disability, it is easier for them to use a plastic straw in order for them to get the drink to their mouth without it being potentially hazardous. Furthermore, using reusable straws becomes an annoyance because you have to wash them after every use. If not cleaned properly, the straw could become filled with mold or other harmful bacteria that cannot be consumed, leading to you purchasing new, reusable straws. 

People Joining In

As many have heard, Starbucks is on their way to becoming completely strawless. This coffee brand is a multimillionaire company with thousands of locations all throughout the U.S and world. By joining in on the straw ban, they will be reducing the use of millions of straws completely on their own. In addition to this, however, many high schools have been joining in too.  New Milford High School is one of the many schools that have taken action on reducing straw use. Mr.Manuppelli, the principal of NMHS stated, “I believe we don’t have straws. They have removed them at this point. Pomptonian runs our kitchen and everything related to it. It’s their decision what they supply us with. They have been proactive and joined a campaign to save the sea turtles. See the flyer downstairs!” Pomptonian is a food service company that is highly involved with school lunches and has become very concerned with the well-being of the environment. They have recently joined in on the “Skip the Straw” movement where they strive to limit the straw use and save as many turtles as they can (one of the many animals being harmed by the usage of plastic straws).

How Will it Help?

By putting a ban on single-use straws, it could also lead to the ban of all single-use plastic products. Every year the world produces about 9 million tonnes of plastic waste, 2000 tonnes of it being straws. By banning straws, we will be reducing this number by 2000 tonnes every year. Now, this may not seem like much but in the long run, we are on our way to a cleaner and safer Earth. With this mindset, we could even possibly ban the use of plastic water bottles and other products which would tremendously change pollution rates. Biodegradable plastics have also been the topic of discussion, with many taking their own view on the situation. Mrs. Torpie, a science teacher at NMHS stated, ¨It’s inaccurate. They do not biodegrade completely but instead, break down into many tiny pieces that still contaminate the environment.” Although biodegradable plastics have not been designed to completely decompose yet, they could still reduce the amount of waste that is actually being put out into the oceans and other areas.

Regardless, by helping the environment and the public with their steps, we could eventually have a clean and healthy Earth.  

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