We’ve all been there, you’re on holiday its hot, you need a nice cold refreshing drink to keep the heat at bay you order a nice fruit shake and it comes with a plastic straw, no big deal, plus its nicer to drink cool drinks from a straw, it doesn’t hurt your teeth as much.
That single use straw will never degrade or be broken down into anything useful, it will sit in a landfill for longer than you or I will live. On average a single use straw is used for 20 minutes, which is not long given the fact that it will outlive everyone in this generation and probably the next.
With regular clean ups of the beaches on Koh Tao and a huge number people wanting to cool off from the excessive heat Thailand experiences 9 months of the year you can imagine the number one find on beach clean ups is straws, it’s a fact that a lot of the plastic straws used end up in the sea, along with lots of different types of plastic, from plastic bags, to plastic containers, a lot of it ends up in the sea causing problems for the whole ecosystem. One example of this is with plastic bags; to turtles they look like jellyfish which they love to eat, once ingested it can have a drastic effect on the turtles health with sometimes fatal consequences, this can then have an effect on the turtle population which in turn causes jellyfish populations to rise, causing more casualties. The same goes for plastic straws, sea birds see them floating on the surface, ingest them which again in turn has consequences on the whole oceanic ecosystem.
Plastic has been a blessing to man but it is also a curse, with the world’s population increasing day by day the amount of plastic produced is increasing, plastic can only be recycled a certain number of times and then it becomes unusable so even recyclable plastic will end up in landfills or the ocean eventually which means it will start seeping into our food chain through the fish and other animal we all love to eat.
So with all this in mind, what will you do next time someone offers you a straw?