As the potentially deadly force of global warming looms over humanity, some politicians have panicked and over-regulated plastic straws. A worldwide legislative push has begun from New York to Scotland. In Los Angeles, the ordinance states that beginning April 22, large food facilities will have to notify customers that they must request a plastic straw instead of being given one by default with every drink.
The political left-wing in the United States is the main force supporting the war on straws. Plastic kills 100,000 marine creatures and 1 million seabirds, according to Oceancrusaders.org. Plastic straws make up 4% of plastic trash, according to Phys.org. As a result, we can conclude that plastic straws kill less than 50 thousand animals a year. Liberal politicians fight against straws in the name of animals and yet vote in favor of renewable energy like wind turbines which kill between 140,000 and 328,000 birds each year.
Working for McDonald’s has given me experience with the new local laws that regulate straw use at restaurants. The city ordinance still allows plastic straws to be used but it forces the consumer to ask for a straw, and in a place like McDonald’s, 8 out of 10 times, the customer always asks for a straw so the ordinance just wastes time.
The recent trend of banning straws epitomizes the environmentalist movement — based on good intentions, but unrealistic and ineffective. While people in LA tweet about how we should ban straws, 6,000 miles away China is throwing their waste in the ocean and polluting the Earth at a higher rate than any country with no end in sight. Asia, a continent with 4.4 billion people, does not care about the environment. India alone has 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities. Also, 90% of plastic polluting the oceans come from rivers in Asia and Africa, according to the World Economic Forum.
I do not believe we should stand by idly as developing nations poison the oceans, but a more effective remedy would be to improve waste management systems. The United States is able to minimize the plastic it contributes to the ocean because it uses landfills. Better waste management is what the turtles of the ocean need. You could donate to international groups that push for this, such as the World Health Organization.
If we want to truly aid a polluted earth, banning straws will not make a significant impact.