Cancun, Q.R. – Environmental officials say that clean-up crews have collected more than 17,000 straws in three hours along Cancun beaches, something that threatens the lives of all marine life.
As explained by Alejandra Lopez Roman, coordinator International Ocean Conservancy in Mexico, marine life such as sea turtles and even birds mistake floating plastic for food and attempt to eat it, which can cause them to choke or clog their intestinal system.
He says that one plastic straw takes 100 years to fully degrade, however, as it does, it releases the toxic chemicals from which it was made. Lopez Roman mentioned that he has worked with Ocean Conservancy numbers that saw the collection of more than 17,000 straws within a three-hour beach clean-up.
According to One Green Planet, over the last 25 years, more than 6 million straws and plastic stirrers were removed from beaches during volunteer clean ups. They also report that each day, humans produce and utilize 500,000,000 straws globally.
Plastic products, including straws, constitute more than 90 percent of all floating trash in the world’s oceans and, according to the Ocean Conservancy, straws fall within the top 10 most collected items at beach clean ups. In 2014, straws were ranked as the number five most popular disposed of item behind bottle caps, wrappers and cigarette butts.
Environmentalists are suggesting that restaurants and hotels not promote the use of straws, which will also save them money while encouraging local sustainability. Ocean Conservancy has noted that this is not a problem for only Mexico, but is a large global issue that, since being American custom, has expanded to other countries.