MORRISTOWN, NJ - Unity Charter School students received a proclamation, from Morristown Mayor Dougherty, for their work in bringing awareness to the negative environmental impact of plastic straws. Mayor Dougherty declared May 25 - “No Straw Day” in Morristown
Plastic straws have become a part of everyday life in America. Yet, they have a tremendous negative impact.
As one of the Unity Charter School middle schooler shared, “On a normal day you might wake up and go to Starbucks before work. You drink your coffee and throw out the straw without thinking about it. Then, on your lunch break, you go to the cafe across the street. You have water with your sandwich, but it comes with a straw in it, and you don’t think about what happens to it when the waiter takes the glass. When you get home and make dinner you grab a drink from the fridge and put a straw in it, from your jar on the counter. The cycle continues and before you realize it you’ve used four single-use straws in one day. Where do they go? They end up in places they shouldn't causing damage to the environment and other living things and they last about 200 years.”
According to 1millionwomen.com everyday 500,000,000 are thrown out each day in the US. Straws are ending in water sources, lakes, rivers, oceans and streams. Animals are eating them and perishing. The students at Unity Charter School believe that people need to act and make changes.
As part of the Education for Sustainability project, a group of Unity middle school students, studied the impact of straws on the environment.
Students were taught that a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything. The students were taught to understood that a sustainable solution solves more than one problem at a time, and minimizes the creation of new problems. These Unity Charter School students put together a campaign to encourage restaurants to cut back on using plastic straws, said staff from the school. They suggested to business owners to only give straws to patrons who asked for them, getting rid of them, or switching to paper alternative.
The campaign was successful as restaurants placed small signs on tables stating that straws would only be given out if asked for, and some restaurants switched to paper straws. This Friday, this same group of students, and their friends, will be in Morristown creating awareness and offering local businesses alternative material straws that are reusable or more compostable.
Sustainable Morristown is also asking residents to act. Not only is the group sharing the student's message to stop using straws on Friday, they are encouraging people to stop using straws for good.
"If we don't act now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish", the group wrote on a Facebook post.