By: Devan Adegbile
According to USA Today, “Within the last year, cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Fort Myers, Florida, Malibu, California, and Vancouver have banned the use of plastic straws, while others, such as New York, are moving in that direction. Companies including Starbucks, American Airlines and Disney, have announced that they’re eliminating plastic straws.” City Councilman, Rafael Espinal, has introduced a bill that will ban plastic straws in restaurants, stadiums, bars, and cafes across New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio agrees that plastic straws must go as they are bad for the environment. According to Eyewitness News, Espinal referenced an incident in Spain, in April, where a whale washed up on the shore with over 60 pounds of trash inside the stomach..Espinal hopes to spread awareness about how our everyday use of plastic ends up in landfills and can wash into the waters, affecting many sea creatures such as turtles, fish and whales. If this bill is passed, anyone who acts against this bill will be fined $100. The only exception to this bill would be the people who need a straw to drink due to a disability or medical condition.
A young woman who works in New York City said she supports the bill. “I feel that the ban on plastic straws is a great start, especially because the concept seems to really be taking off and becoming very popular with big businesses. With that being said, I am a little skeptical because straws make up such a small amount of the plastic used overall. I definitely feel as though the ban on plastic straws is a step in the right direction and I’m hopeful that we can continue to reduce our plastic usage even more as time goes on” she said.
According to Eyewitness News, if we continue our plastic use, by 2050 there will be more plastic floating around our oceans than there are fish in the ocean. Only 9 percent of waste is recycled. “I don’t believe there are any huge obstacles. It’s not like plastic bags, where consumers felt it was important for them to carry out their groceries. A straw is not a necessity for most New Yorkers, so I think this is more of a change of thinking.”.
“Americans throw out an estimated half-billion plastic straws every single day” said Espinal in Eyewitness News.
“Personally, I am all for the ban on plastic straws – it’s a small step but it’s one in the right direction. The state that our planet is in right now is scary and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I fear for our future generations and what they will have to go through due to our carelessness in protecting our earth. I hope that this ban can bring more awareness to the subject and help to eliminate harmful products in the future.” said Sinead.
This proposal does not ban environmentally friendly straws such as aluminum or paper straws. According to USA Today, “Aardvark paper straws debuted in 2007, as the anti-plastic movement began to emerge. In the 10 years since reintroduction, the company has seen year-over-year growth”. “This last year’s growth, however, is beyond anything the company could have expected: 5,000 percent.” It is said that due to a bill against plastic straw use the demand for an alternative paper straw use is higher than ever before.