Puerto Rico | Plastic Straws
Hurricane season kicks off this week. A new report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday, estimates that 4,635 people in Puerto Rico died Hurricane Maria last year. The official death toll is 64.
A caveat: this report is not definitive. In fact, the report says, “This number is likely to be an underestimate because of survivor bias.” Still, one-third of these deaths are attributed to “delayed or interrupted health care.”
The report raises the question of how Puerto Rico will prepare against future hurricanes. While much of the country is still without power from Hurricane Maria, hurricane season is here again. To help, donate to The María: Puerto Rico Real-Time Recovery Fund.
Clean Water Action has partnered with local Montclair restaurants to reduce the use of disposable straws. The project, Straws by Request, advocates that restaurants serve drinks without disposable straws unless the customer specifically request them.
Two outcomes of the project are the heightened awareness of pollution associated with disposable plastics and the reconsideration of disposable plastic use. Once people are aware of the environmental impact of disposable straws, it becomes much easier not to use them.
StrawFree.org estimates that 500 million straws are thrown away every day by Americans. Multiply that by one year and you get 182.5 billion straws. According to Straw Free, that’s enough to wrap around the world twice. More than anyone needs, right?
To help reduce disposable plastic use, the next time you order a drink, request no straw. Or ask your local restaurant whether they participate in the Straws by Request project. For environmental overachievers, plastic straw alternatives, such as paper and bamboo, may be the way to go. Yes, bamboo straws are a thing. They come with a naturally wider mouth, which means you get more beverage every time you sip.