A plastic straw ban is being touted by environmental activists, along with growing communities, who believe the plastic straw ban will help to protect marine life and produce less waste in landfills, according to NBC News. The plastic straw ban is gaining more momentum in coastal communities around the country.
This week, McDonald’s shareholders voted against a proposal to examine its plastic straw use from the advocacy group, SumOfUs, who seek a ban on the straws, according to The Hill. McDonald’s uses an estimated 95 million straws worldwide daily, according to SumOfUs.
Marine biologist and SumOfUs member Elaine Leung said that the problem with straws is that they never disappear. They simply break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Leung said that many of us see plastic straws as a harmless item, but they add up and causes various hazards.
California remains the only state to ban plastic bags. Ten other states have passed laws that limit or forbid both cities and counties from enacting their own plastic bag restrictions, according to NBC News.
Activists believe that the plastic straw ban can advance more rapidly than the ban on plastic bags, because most people view plastic bags as more of a necessity than a straw. Straws are seen as more of a small indulgence that many can do without.
The SumOfUs petition was signed by more than 480,00 people. The supporters urged McDonald’s to get rid of plastic straws. Currently, McDonald’s restaurants in the U.K. are experimenting with paper straws. The fast-food chains are keeping the plastic straws, which are available only on request, behind the counter.
Diana Lofflin, the founder of Straw Free, said that straws are something that anyone can give up easily without having it affect their lifestyle. She said that giving up straws is a small step that people can make to make an impact across the globe.
There have been hundreds of viral photos and videos of seals who have been trapped in plastic netting or dead whales enmeshed in plastic that have helped the initiative gain momentum. One YouTube video, which has received nearly 25 million views, displays rescuers trying to remove a straw from a sea turtle’s nose.
Plastic straws are falling deep into the ocean and subsequently harming fish and aquatic life. Three million straws a day have been collected by volunteers through the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, per Nick Mallos, the director of the Trash Free Seas Program.
The plastics industry says that banning plastic straws will not solve threats to marine creatures and that communities should do more to recycle plastic straws.
Last week, New York City councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a measure that would ban plastic straws in both food and beverage establishments, according to Forbes.
Scientists Call For Worldwide Ban On Glitter
Environmental anthropologist, Dr. Farrelly, said that she thinks all glitter should be banned because it’s a microplastic. Glitter and other microbeads are used in cosmetics, body washes, clothing, and most commonly seen in arts and crafts supplies. However, glitter is made up of small plastic particles.
Most glitter is made of aluminum and a plastic called PET. Dr. Farrelly has investigated how PET can break down to release chemicals that disrupt hormones in the bodies of both animals and humans.
These chemicals have been linked with the onset of cancers and have also been known to cause neurological diseases. Scientists have argued that these particles have made their way into the ocean where animals then consume it. It has been reported by CBS New York that the number of microplastics in the world’s ocean total up to 51 trillion fragments.
Plastic particles were found in one-third of the fish caught in the United Kingdom, according to the findings of a study carried out by Professor Richard Thompson.
Scientists at New Zealand’s Massey University have also agreed that glitter is a microplastic, and because of that, it should be banned.
Cheryl Hadland, director of Tops Day Nurseries, told the BBC that the kilos of glitter being used across the country would do “terrible damage.”
Dr. Ferrelly said that avoiding cosmetic glitter and microbeads is a “no-brainer.” Ferrelly said that she’s fed up with consumers being responsible in trying to “avoid this stuff” because it’s nearly impossible to do. Dr. Ferrelly said that producers need to be responsible and use safer, non-toxic alternatives.