On the fourth Friday in February, The Coral Keepers ask you to consider a different way on National Skip the Straw Day! For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed slurping a refreshing beverage through a cylindrical tube. If Marvin Stone (the inventor of the first paper straw in 1888) were alive today, he might be shocked to know of the five large areas of the ocean, called gyres, where plastic garbage collects. The sea’s currents create vortexes trapping plastics, and in the collection are plastic drinking straws.
Straws and other plastics cause harm to marine life in many ways. Birds, fish, and other sea life consume plastics accidentally or when they mistake it for food. Plastics don’t biodegrade. They break down into smaller and finer, microscopic pieces. When plastics break down, they produce bisphenol A (BPA) which interferes with reproductive systems in marine life. It also produces styrene monomer which is a suspected carcinogen. According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws daily!
So, on National Skip the Straw Day that’s potentially 500 million fewer straws that don’t end up in landfills or the oceans.