Protect turtles from straws

3

To the Editor:

Sea turtles are appearing more and more on the Cape, to the delight of many. With the increase in sea turtles, it is now more important than ever before that we protect our marine environment by reducing the use of plastic straws, which can pose a danger to sea turtles and other fish and wildlife.

Five hundred million straws are used and discarded every day in the U.S. alone. In the U.S., the consumption of straws could wrap around the earth’s circumference 2.5 times a day. Unfortunately, many straws don’t end up being recycled. Most end up in landfills, littered on the ground, or in the ocean. We need to start doing something, we need to start using less, consuming less, wasting less. Straws are where we can start.

There are alternatives to plastic straws. You can skip the straw completely. Or you can buy a reusable straw, or ask for a paper straw. Some people with disabilities may need plastic straws, and they should be provided when requested.

The Cape and Islands are popular beach destinations, and it is important to keep them free of plastic. Although it may not seem like a big deal removing the plastic straws from our lives, all efforts make a difference. Reducing the use of plastic straws is an easy thing for most of us, and it can lead to other actions to reduce our use of single-use plastic packaging such as bags, polystyrene foam, and plastic bottles.

As tourists visit our islands in the summer, they too should be given an opportunity to reduce plastic pollution. Martha’s Vineyard can be a model for environmental sustainability. So we should treat it with love and care, and start by removing the plastic straws from our home.

Grace Kenney
Chilmark