Some people may think it is ‘a given’ for restaurants to have ice and drinking straws.
We ask for ‘no ice’ or even ‘less sugar’, but we almost never ask for ‘no straws’. Sometimes, things that are ‘a given’ are not always essential, but just a ‘habit’. The habit of using a plastic straw every time you consume a cold beverage has a huge negative impact on countless marine mammals. Furthermore, contaminants in plastic litter enter our food chain, ultimately damaging our health almost like ‘stabbing’ ourselves.
A video of a sea turtle with a foreign object lodged in its nostril went viral several years ago, receiving global attention regarding the detrimental impact plastic straws have on marine animals. The sea turtle got the foreign object removed by marine biologists, who pulled out a 10cm long plastic straw, causing excruciating pain for the turtle. Toxins and chemical in plastic litter are absorbed by marine animals and bio-accumulate through the food chain, affecting the overall ecosystem. Who’d have thought that such a seemingly disposable utensil could put a large burden on the environment?
Plastic straws are one of the top ten contributors to marine debris. Studies have shown that the average American uses 1.6 straws per day, adding up to a daily total consumption of up to 500 million straws a day. This is enough to circulate the earth two and a half times, which when you think about this happening every day in countries across the world, is a terrfiying thought. Once we finish consuming a beverage, the plastic straw becomes waste. It takes only 10 minutes to drink with a plastic straw, but 400-500 years for one to be broken down.
Research commissioned by the Foundation shows encouraging progress in reducing Hong Kong’s overall plastic straw consumption, which has dropped from 1.7 billion in 2017 to 1 billion in 2020 thanks to concerted efforts in inviting the public to say no to plastic straws. People say that it takes 21 days to form a new habit or to get rid of an one. All you have to do is take the first step. Starting from today, join in on the No Straw trend. When you eat out, say ‘NO STRAW, THANKS’ to your waiter.