“It’s Just One Straw,” said 7.8 billion people

Renna Alger, Staff Writer

Environmentally, 2018 has been one for the books. People have been striving towards a waste-free lifestyle. At least, as waste-free as possible. One of the many great steps has been the international movement to stop using single use plastics, like plastic grocery bags and disposable water bottles. Another way to discontinue this ‘single plastic lifestyle’ that is gaining momentum is by purchasing reusable instead of disposable straws.
The movement to decrease the use of plastic straws has been met with obstacles over recent years. However, this past summer a video was uploaded to YouTube that completely changed the game. The video features a group of scientists that are attempting to remove a straw from a sea turtle’s’ nostril. While graphic and unnerving, the video has caused a major skyrocket in the amount of participants in the Reusable Straw Movement. However, even with the publicity from this video, people continue to use single-use plastics. In the U.S. alone, Americans buy almost 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute, and recycle about 23 percent of them. This begs the question of whether people are genuinely invested in the welfare of the ocean and its inhabitants, or simply interested in being a part of the latest trend.
There may be many people who do not chose to use reusable items, but there are many people who chose to fight this epidemic in their own different ways. BHS marine biology teacher Joanne Jarzobski makes an effort to educate her students on plastic pollution. She said she implements it into the curriculum to not only make it a mandatory topic, but to also bring students to the realization that humans are damaging the ocean.
“Every individual can make a difference; making one little change to help the planet and to be mindful about how much we use and how much we waste,” she said.
Jarzobski also said that if each person picked up only three pieces of trash when they visit a beach, it could make a huge impact.
2018 BHS graduates Allison Carter and Mona Boumghait have recently partnered to form a nonprofit organization, known as Mission Cape Cod, to promote environmental awareness. They recently opened an online store, and they sell metal straws. In her everyday life, Boumghait passionately shares her ideas on plastic pollution. With the recent movements exploding all over the internet, local nonprofits forming, and schools implementing pollution awareness into the curriculum, it raises the question of why people continue to refuse multi-use products.
“Many people are complacent in their ways. Single use everything have been around forever and it’s hard to break away from some of our habits. Sometimes single use is seen as more convenient than reusable, especially at coffee places, but if you think about it there’s nothing more convenient than always being prepared with your own utensils,” Boumghait said.
Whether it is simply a fad on its way out or here to stay, environmental awareness is on the rise. And people are taking notice.