The Final Straw?

Posted by Ariana Densham — 10 March 2017 at 5:14pm - Comments
Greenpeace campaigner collecting drinks straws from a beach in Manila
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

Millions of straws are used every day around the world. Many of these are used for just a few minutes, then are simply thrown away. In fact plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found in beach clean ups. 

I’ve seen this for myself. When I was in the Philippines last year, I collected more than 50 straws from a small area of a beach in just 20 minutes.

In the ocean, plastic does not biodegrade. Instead it just breaks down into smaller pieces over hundreds of years, and it’s impossible to clean up. With up to 12 million tonnes of plastic clogging up the oceans every year, it’s no wonder wildlife is facing the brunt of the impacts.

More than 10 million people have seen this video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nostril:

It’s distressing watching, but also a grim reminder of the impacts of the plastic we throw away. 

Plastic bags and toothbrushes have also been found inside the stomachs of sea turtles - in fact, 1 in 3 sea turtles have eaten marine plastic. 

Not only are straws made from fossil fuels (which unnecessarily contributes to climate change) but they are also completely unnecessary for most people! 

Next time you’re at a bar, ask for your drink without a straw and at home, keep a reusable one on hand.

If enough people say no to plastic straws, companies will stop serving them in everything from your coke to your caipirinha. And that’s great news for the oceans, and all marine life from tiny sea crabs to the great whales.

About Ariana

I’m Ariana and I’m an campaigner in the Oceans team at Greenpeace UK.  

interested? Follow me on twitter @arianadensham


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