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Earth Day Campaign Addresses Dangers of Plastic Straws

May 16, 2018, 11:30 AM HST · Updated May 18, 7:29 AM
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To address the critically important issue of single-use plastics and harmful plastic drinking straws, Pacific Whale Foundation has launched an Earth Day awareness campaign called The Last Straw. Earth Day is on Sun., April, 22 2018.

According to Pacific Whale Foundation, plastic straws are one of the most common sources of litter in the world, polluting the oceans, injuring and even killing marine wildlife. Products that get used only once and for mere minutes are causing widespread and lasting harm to the environment.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back. Grasping at straws. Draw the short straw. It’s no accident that many metaphors involving straws are things you want to avoid,” said Communications Manager, Alison Stewart. “Actual drinking straws are no different, at least when they’re made out of plastic.”

“What’s more, straws rarely make it to recycling or the landfill because of their size and weight,” said Conservation Coordinator, Jenny Roberts. “They’re difficult to transport and dispose of properly. They often end up on the ground, on our beaches, and eventually in the ocean.”

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Every piece of plastic ever created still exists today. Even recyclable plastics never truly biodegrade. Scientists project that by the year 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish.

“We all contribute to the problem, but we can all take part in the solutions,” said Roberts. “Start today by refusing straws at your favorite restaurant or bar. Tell them why and ask them to have a by request only policy for handing out straws.”

For those who need or want to use straws, more non-plastic alternatives than ever are available in stores and online, including paper straws and reusable straws made from stainless steel, bamboo and even glass.

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Pacific Whale Foundation stopped using straws on their PacWhale ecotour vessels in 2015. They also carry a variety of reusable straws and other eco-friendly products in their Ma’alaea, Lahaina, and online Ocean Stores.

Other ways to support this campaign for the environment is to spread the word. Pacific Whale Foundation has a fun, custom-made photo frame for Facebook. You can check it out by clicking the bottom of your profile picture to update it, then select “Add Frame”, write in “Pacific Whale Foundation” in the search box, and choose The Last Straw. You can make adjustments or changes to your photo and even set a time frame for using it.

“We also encourage you to use #ReuseOrRefuse to share what you or others you know are doing to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in the environment,” said Stewart.

In addition, Pacific Whale Foundation conducts regular beach clean-ups to help keep plastic straws and other marine debris off the beach and out of the ocean. You can join them or clean up your favorite beach on your own. Either way, the organization will provide the clean-up materials and a data-sheet, as part of their citizen-science Marine Debris Monitoring and Removal Program.

More information on beach clean-ups and other Volunteers on Vacation opportunities can be found online.

 

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