Jocelyn Castañeda

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Image obtained from Google Commons.

On Sept. 20, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill, Assembly Bill No. 1884, stating that full- service restaurants can only provide single-use plastic straws if a customer asks for one and it excludes fast food restaurants. This bill, which swept all over California on Jan. 1, 2019, aims to reduce ocean waste. Therefore, the ban is not a big deal because straws are still available and all that is needed is to simply ask for a straw from the waiter.

I personally don’t go without a straw at restaurants because I am grossed out of the thought of drinking from a poorly washed cup that some random person was drinking from. Not just that, but for some reason, my teeth are sensitive when it comes to drinking cold drinks. So without a straw, it irritates my teeth and thus makes it hard to enjoy my time out.

We also must not forget about those with the least say in whether or not bills should be signed, kids. Just like every other skill in life, learning how to drink from a cup without a straw (without spilling all over yourself and the area near you) is a difficult task. Thus, when waiters are forced to bring the “kid designed drinks,” they bring it out with a lid, YET there is no straw for that lid. As we all know, kids are eager to have their drink and some will immediately try to drink from the lid not knowing that it is merely impossible for one to do so.

I can see how the above arguments can totally be complaints if single-use straws were banned completely, but one must remember that they are not and that if it helps the environment to an extent, then it is worth doing. Many restaurants also now have paper straws in order to satisfy customers’ wants and there is a metal straw that is now available to buy and neatly carry around with you. Additionally, straws are only four percent of all coastal cleanup debris in California, according to the Daily News.

Many countries, states, and food service companies have enacted a bill to reduce the waste from plastic straws. If we want to get technical here, 175 million straws are used daily only in the US, and they are the seventh most common item found during coastal cleanups, according to the Daily News. Thus, many agree that this bill is a small step to reducing ocean waste.

Furthermore, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t join the #StopSucking campaign unless you enjoy knowing that in 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.