Are Plastic Straws Distracting from a Bigger Problem?
By edhat staff
An edhat subscriber sent in a recent opinion article from Bloomberg News where the author states plastic straw bans might hinder greater efforts to reduce plastic use and pollution.
"... this well-intentioned campaign assumes that single-use plastics, such as straws and coffee stirrers, have much to do with ocean pollution. And that assumption is based on some highly dubious data. Activists and news media often claim that Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day, for example, which sounds awful. But the source of this figure turns out to be a survey conducted by a nine-year-old. Similarly, two Australian scientists estimate that there are up to 8.3 billion plastic straws scattered on global coastlines. Yet even if all those straws were suddenly washed into the sea, they'd account for about .03 percent of the 8 million metric tons of plastics estimated to enter the oceans in a given year," the author writes.
According to a recent survey by "Ocean Cleanup" scientists they determined that at least 46 percent of the plastic by weight in a large ocean garbage patch was due to fishing nets.
Last summer the City of Santa Barbara issued a firm ban on plastic straws and other single use plastics that gained national attention for the proposed punishment of jail time. The ordinance was sent back for further review after going viral.
On October 9th, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-1 to adopt an ordinance prohibiting the distribution and sale of plastic straws and stirrers as well as limitations to the distribution of plastic cutlery which can only be provided "upon request".
This ordinance is set to go into effect on July 1 of this year. The full details can be found here including exemptions due to teh Americans with Disabilities Act.