a planetary movement
Thousands of campaigns have sprung up around the world to eliminate plastic straws from our daily lives. Dozens of organizations and multinationals have joined the movement.
The global movement to ban plastic straws took off in 2015 after the release of a video showing a sea turtle in Costa Rica "crying" as they try to remove a piece of plastic from one of his nostrils. The touching images were viewed more than 32 million times on YouTube, and they shone the spotlight on the issue of straws.
Americans put 500 million plastic straws in the trash every day. It would be enough to go around the Earth twice! Across the Atlantic, European Union member countries use 23 billion straws each year, according to consulting firm Eunomia. Straws are among the 10 most collected waste.
"In the fight against plastic pollution, straws are an important symbol for drawing consumers' attention to the health of our oceans," said Dune Ives, director of Lonely Whale.
Ms. Ives' organization launched its Strawless Ocean campaign last year to raise awareness. Other organizations and activist groups point out that simply banning plastic straws will not be enough, although it is a good place to start.
"There is no silver bullet to counter plastic ocean pollution. We all have a role to play, says Nicholas Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas. Campaigns to ban the use of straws or single-use plastic bags are important in reaching and educating the general public about pollution. "
So far, the movement has been very successful: many people have chosen not to use plastic straws daily. Large companies like McDonald's and Starbucks have even pledged to phase out the amount of these in their businesses. Governments are following suit by passing laws that ban their use.
ongoing campaigns have launched an international debate on the issue, which could lead to wider action to tackle pollution from single-use plastic objects that pollute the oceans. “Straws are a symbol of our excessive consumption of plastic,” concludes Dune Ives.