The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

The Village of Pinecrest Bans Plastic Straws

January 28, 2019

As of Oct. 9, the Village of Pinecrest ended a debate over whether or not to ban the use of plastic straws– and voted in favor of their removal.

The new law prohibiting the use, sale and distribution of single-use plastic straws went into effect on Jan. 1, ringing in the new year with heightened environmental awareness. This means that all customers of local supermarkets and restaurants will not be able to purchase or use plastic straws within them, and visitors/residents of the Village of Pinecrest cannot bring any in. The plan encourages the use of biodegradable straws such as paper, or using none at all.

“Once people from the community began suggesting plastic straw bans like I did by sending an email, the council finally realized they had to really act upon this sustainable initiative rather than simply dream about it,” junior and AP Environmental Science student Nicole Gazo said. “Thus, they passed the ordinance on banning plastic straws and that’s why you’ll begin to see more paper straws around our community.”

These measures work to combat the detrimental effects plastic straws have proven to have on the environment. According to the Miami chapter of Surfrider, a foundation which aided in urging for the plastic straw ban, this policy will decrease the need for pollution-creating fossil fuels. Because single-use plastics decompose so slowly, they tend to litter oceans and directly affect the sea life within them.

“The plastic straw ban is important because how do we expect to permanently dispose of something that’s been created from items that can’t even be destroyed? One way or another that plastic straw is going to end up either in a landfill or in our oceans,” Gazo said.

During July of 2018, a viral video from 2015 resurfaced depicting the removal of a plastic straw from the nose of a sea turtle. According to TIME, the video resonated with many and created a face and drive for the straw ban movement– a movement which spans way beyond Pinecrest. During that same month, companies such as Starbucks, American Airlines and Hyatt announced they would follow a global initiative to stop their use of plastic straws, according to TIME Money.

“Videos of marine life threatened by these straws went viral years ago, [and] I don’t know why it took so long for people to recognize their devastations. Plastic takes decades to decompose, and it most cases it never does. The plastic straws end up degrading and form smaller particles of plastic that just float around our oceans,” Gazo said. “It’s easy for any marine organism to mistake these particles with phytoplankton. Think about the whales that simply open their mouths and swallow all that polluted water.”

The growing publicity of the dangerous effects of plastic straws manifests itself as close as in the actions of our local government and stores, and farther.

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