Saving oceans one straw free drink at a time

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Tara Fischer, News Editor

In preparation for summer, numerous businesses in Ocean City have pledged to protect the coast and ocean through a straw-free campaign.

This initiative is being led by the Surfrider Foundation which claims the purpose is to “cut down on the plastic pollution in the ocean and on beaches, which can cause serious harm to wildlife” (CBS Baltimore). To work toward this goal, businesses and restaurants are encouraged to refrain from providing plastic drinking straws with beverages unless requested by a customer.

The promotion has immense beneficent potential, as plastic straws are notoriously harmful to aquatic ecosystems and the organisms thriving within. According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, an organization whose goal is to remedy the increasing amounts of plastic present on Earth,  animals often mistake microplastics for food, and the consumption of this can lead to suffocation and death. Furthermore, humans are frequently affected as well. In fact, approximately 1,400 people within the United States, oftentimes children, visit the emergency room every year due to plastic straw-related injuries.

Despite its advantages, Ocean City’s straw- free project faces opposition due to possible negative impacts on disabled persons. Any people who are physically disadvantaged rely on plastic straws in order to enjoy drinks independently.  One such example is the situation of Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds, a woman born without arms or legs, who requires assistance when drinking without the convenience of straws. Moriarty-Simmonds expresses her discontent, explaining, “No one has consulted disabled people” (BBC News). Fortunately with Ocean City’s campaign, a straw will be readily provided to customers upon request.

By going strawless for the summer, Ocean City will be able to profoundly reduce the pollution that is often found on the beach and in the ocean, harming the shore and those that inhabit and enjoy it. Such an initiative will further remedy the large accumulation of plastic that is found within Ocean City, and hopefully be a small step into what will become a larger project, leading the Earth out of the “Era of Plastic.”