It is safe to say that most of us use or have used plastic straws…..and quite often! Many of us may have even heard the hype on how bad straws are for marine life, especially Sea Turtles! In fact straw use has become such a controversy that large organizations like The Wildlife Conservation Society have created the “Give A Sip” campaign against straw use. Their campaign is built off the knowledge that with the rate we are at with plastic usage the amount of plastic in our oceans, by 2050, will outweigh the amount of fish in the ocean. As of now over 8 million tons of plastic can be found in our oceans each year–really very sad!
Hawaii Real Nature Tours is dedicated to preserving nature and the Hawaiian Islands. Our Oahu tours keep our environment in mind and do all that we can to contribute to protecting and preserving the nature that surrounds us. Plastic Straws are a big problem and one that we hope to shed some light on.
Straw Ban/Usage Facts
- 70% of Seabirds have plastic in their systems
- 30% of Sea Turtles have plastic in their systems
- The State of California now has a ban on straws, meaning restuarants & other establishments can not give out straws
- New York is looking to follow in California’s footsteps and place a ban on straws
- Plastic Straws are NEVER biodegrade
- Straws are among the 10 most collected items on beaches
- Straws are dangerous to sea turtles and other marine life mainly because of the fact they never biodegrade and can easily get into marine life’s delicate eco systems.
- Take a look at this video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up his nose.
You have to stop and wonder, if straws are made out of plastic and they aren’t safe for marine life and our ocean waters, what about other plastics?
The truth is plastic bags, soda netting, and other single use plastics are also finding their way into our oceans and thus harmful to marine life too! Here in the State of Hawaii, our government is cracking down on grocery stores and the like, offering plastic bags to customers. In fact, as of July 1st of this year a law was passed that stores must charge 15 cents per plastic bag provided to the customer. Furthermore in stores here on Oahu, single use plastic bags are not allowed to be used at all. Instead law requires that Oahu stores use a plastic bag that is made out of a thicker reusable compostable plastic. If businesses don’t follow this law they can be fined up to $1,000 for each infraction.
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument is a marine life sanctuary that was first established in 2006 by then President George W. Bush, consisting of 140,000 square miles of ocean territory. In 2016 Barack Obama further increased the square mileage of Papahanaumokuakea to 582,578 square miles of ocean territory.
This incredible sanctuary encompasses all of the surrounding Hawaiian Islands and its ocean waters. This sanctuary is home to many endangered species that include Blue Whales, Sea Turtles, Hawaiian Monk Seals and short-tailed albatrosses (type of seabird). It was established in order to help set forth rules and regulations that can be punishable by law when broken and to help protect Hawaii’s marine life and preserve its importance to the Hawaiian culture.
For those that live in Hawaii and for those that come to visit our islands, we hope that everyone shows love and respect for the ocean waters and its marine life inhabitants. If we all do our part to help combat waste that eventually makes its way into our oceans and to be mindful and aware of plastic consumption, we all help to preserve the sea and its abundance of creatures & beauty.