Straws cause harm to wildlife and environment

Lily Eckroth, Page Editor

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Plastic straws have serious effects on the environment. They are causing major issues for marine life in oceans. The single-use type of plastic straws are composed of take hundreds of years to break down, leaving them permanently discarded in the ocean.

People use straws for such a short period of time, then dispose of them right away. In fact, over 500 million straws are used each day in America. Once the straws get into the landfills, they do not decompose and end up in oceans. Straws are either left on beaches in coastal communities, littered, or blown out of trash cans or trash transport vehicles.

Not only are they littering the oceans, but they are also harming the sea life surrounding it. Straws are often mistaken as food by many animals in the wild. Once animals consume these plastic items, they end up with straws in their systems, often causing them to become very sick or possibly end up dead. According to statistics reported on, nearly 70% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs. If no action is taken to limit the production of straws worldwide, then there will end up being more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

Because of this, many worldwide companies have begun to get involved in a movement to stop the production of straws. These companies include, American Airlines, Starbucks, and Hyatt. Starbucks for example, is planning to eliminate straws from their company by 2020 and to replace them with recyclable plastic lids.

A more local business to the Mechanicsburg community who is getting involved in banning straws is the Pizza Grille in Camp Hill. Servers will no longer be serving straws to customers unless they ask for them. People throughout the world hold different opinions on whether straws should be banned or not. Some people believe that they are harming the environment and should no longer be used, including sophomore Annika Hummel stated, “I think that straws should be banned because sea life is important to the world and it is very inhumane to let animals suffer just so people can easily drink from cups.”

On the other hand, some people disagree with the idea of banning straws. Another MASH student, sophomore Madison Mark, stated, “Yes, straws may be harmful to the environment, but when I go to another restaurant, I don’t want to put my mouth on the cups that a lot of other people have used.” As Mark illuminates, the banning of straws have some people worried about the cleanliness of utensils at restaurants.

Since some people have a plethora of concerns with straws being eliminated from many food places, people have started to come up with substitutes for the plastic straw. These ideas include, stainless steel, glass, paper, or bamboo straws. With the use of these materials in straw production, people will not be harming the environment as much as they would with plastic.

Along with straws being bad for the environment, they can also be hazardous to people around the world. Drinking from straws allows extra air to enter into the digestive tract which can lead to various health problems. Straws also increase the likelihood of cavity formation because of the direct contact the liquid will have with the teeth.

Clearly, the dangers straws add to the well being of people in general show how bad they are for the environment. Straws also end up in oceans from failure to dispose of trash properly, pollute land areas, harm marine life, and serve as a danger to humans. Banning straws all together for the majority of the world will result in the world becoming much cleaner and healthier.

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Straws cause harm to wildlife and environment