It is easy to find examples of the deadly effects that our plastic addiction has on the environment and animals. Videos of marine mammals struggling to free themselves from plastic nets and strings and statistics about the toll that marine debris takes on the creatures living in the oceans are at the tips of our fingers – if we only want to see them. The key to moving towards an actual change is never pretending these things do not exist. Once we see a problem, we need to work toward a solution, not try to forget the issue because it seems so much bigger than each of us.
Peter Borg-Neal, the owner of UK pub chain Oakman Inns, turned his discovery of a graphic YouTube video, that features an injured turtle, into a wonderfully positive change for his business. The video shows rescuers removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nostril. See this disturbed Borg-Neal so much that he decided to immediately take a stand. The company announced its restriction on the use of plastic straws across all seventeen pubs. Customers will no longer receive a straw with their order automatically, only if they specifically ask for one.
“My response when I saw the video was the same as anyone else. It’s appalling and horribly unnecessary,” Borg-Neal told The Guardian. “Those straws simply should not be in the sea.” American use 500 million plastic straws every day, which makes straws one of the most ubiquitous plastic items polluting our planet.
Not only did Borg-Neal make a change in his own pubs, but also called on fellow businesses to do the same. This new policy may seem like a very small adjustment, but it is small changes like this that help make actual progress. And taking into consideration the scale of today’s plastic waste problem, we really have no other choice than to do every last thing we can.
Every year, we produce 300 million tons of plastic globally. 78 percent of it is not recycled! Around 8.8 million tons of those plastic wastes end up in the oceans where marine animals ingest and get entangled with them. Currently, about 700 species of marine animals are faced with the risk of extinction because of that threat. So next time you pick up a straw in a bar or pub – remember that turtle.
Our personal decisions do matter – to learn how to limit your own use of plastic and the amount of plastic waste you produce, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.