A new initiative by Westport Tidy Towns committee hopes to see Westport becoming Ireland’s’ first town to get rid of plastic straws for good. The initiative was put forward by Transition Year students at a recent tidy town committee meeting and will be part of its entry into the 2018 national Tidy Town competition.
This will be a community effort and the committee hopes local businesses will get on board and replace plastic straws with biodegradable alternatives, or ditch them altogether. With the tourist season just around the corner this small change could make a huge difference in combating plastic waste.
The problem with plastic straws is they can pose a serious threat to marine life. We go through a mind boggling amount of straws, more than 500 million plastic straws are discarded in the U.S. alone. And if you regularly take part in a beach clean you’ll know straws are some of the most common types of plastic waste found on beaches. These end up in the seas where turtles and other marine creatures ingest them.
Rhona Chambers, a member of Westport Tidy Towns committee said of the new initiative, “The SuperValu Tidy Towns competition is all about businesses and communities working together to make a difference and we hope that by eliminating plastic straws we can make a difference to Westport. We are a coastal town and want to preserve the wildlife and nature in Westport, so getting rid of plastic straws helps us to do that.”
As awareness about the serious problem of marine plastics is spreading more people and businesses are joining making small changes to help cut down on our plastic waste. A number of bars and restaurants have decided to lead the charge and do their own bit by using paper straws or getting rid of them altogether. And there’s more great initiatives like the Conscious Cup campaign, which encourages cafes to give discounts to people who bring their own cup, are spreading throughout the country and helping us all make the small changes that will help fight plastic pollution.