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Aquarium makes a strong case against deadly straws

Marco Hort from Austria poses with 259 drinking straws stuffed into his mouth. Straws are not recyclable and will one day literally outweigh all the fish in the sea. Picture: AP

Marco Hort from Austria poses with 259 drinking straws stuffed into his mouth. Straws are not recyclable and will one day literally outweigh all the fish in the sea. Picture: AP

Published Jan 17, 2018

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The Two Oceans Aquarium says millions of animals die every year from consuming straws mistaken for food.

Aquarium spokesperson Renée Leeuwner said: “Hundreds of billions of plastic straws are used globally, damaging ecosystems, killing wildlife and contributing to the pollution of our atmosphere.

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“Our oceans are facing a severe threat of plastic pollution as 80% of ocean trash originates on land. Single-use plastics are huge contributors to the plastic trash in the ocean.”

According to the aquarium, straws are an environmental killer through their Straws Suck campaign.

Leeuwner said that globally, more than 1billion single-use plastic straws were used and thrown out daily.

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“Straws are lightweight and easily blown away by the wind. They are not recyclable. Animals can mistake straws for food, which can lead to their deaths. And straws are wasteful.

“Plastic doesn't break down, so it doesn't become part of the natural cycle again. Plastic breaks up, into smaller and smaller pieces, which remain and then become part of the food chain.”

Leeuwner said over one million birds were killed by plastic every year, many by straws.

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She said they were made from crude oil and used 8% of the world’s oil resources.

“A dump truck load of plastic waste enters the ocean every minute,” Leeuwner added.

“The easiest way of preventing this trash from ending up in the ocean is to not generate the trash in the first place. We have to take responsibility for our trash.

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“We have to realise that when we are throwing something 'away' there is no 'away'. Trashing something is basically just moving the item from one point to the next, on our finite earth.”

Leeuwner said giving up straws was an ideal start and that there were reusable alternatives such as bamboo, glass, stainless steel and paper straws.

The Evening Standard has started “The Last Straw” campaign in the UK, while French drinks producer Pernod Ricard also recently announced that they would phase out all plastic straws and stirrers from their offices, events, promotions, advertising and marketing globally.

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