The Florida DEP has recently launched a #SkipTheStraw movement to combat plastic pollution in the environment. Skip the Straw is a pledge for residents to say "no" to straws for just one week- in hopes this starts a trend and forms a habit of ditching single-use plastics.
Plastic straws are easily picked up by wind and can end up in our oceans. In fact it's in the top 5 trash items collected from our waterways every year. In most places straws aren't recyclable, and when they aren't disposed of properly they can not only endanger wildlife, but also humans as they are broken down into microplastics which travel through the food chain. Ninety percent of seabirds and 30% of sea turtles have been found to have plastic in their stomachs- and even closer to home, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center has seen plastic consumed by all of the sea turtles it has rescued.
The U.S. uses 500 million straws a day- that's enough to fill 125 school buses and annually enough to span the world nearly 3 times around. If everyone in the state of Florida took the pledge to stop using straws for just one week, we could together reduce pollution from plastic straws by approximately 2.35 million.
If you're ready to help save our environment, you can take the pledge online here. Other things you can do include reducing your use of other single-use plastic items, picking up trash when you see it, participating in beach cleanups and encouraging the people in your life to do the same.
To see more about the effects of marine debris, check out this PDF from the Florida DEP.