Straws are a huge drain on the environment and should be done away with, argues the LA Times editorial board. They tend to be disposed of after only being used for a few minutes and contribute to the huge amounts of plastic clogging landfills and oceans. Especially when they land in the sea, at best, they break up into tiny particles that will eventually be consumed by marine life, or, at worst, get clogged in the nose of an endangered species. Plastic straws are easily replaceable; they can be made of biodegradable paper or even metal. A straw-on-request policy in most bars could also be a short-term solution to limit the excessive creation of waste.
While the desire to reduce plastic waste is warranted, many people with disabilities rely on straws, even plastic ones, infers Robyn Powell in The Huffington Post. Powell has arthrogryposis, which affects her arms and legs and means she relies on straws to be able to drink. Plastic straws are unfortunately a necessity for some people. Bamboo and metal straws are too hard, which can be harmful for people with Parkinson’s disease. Paper and other biodegradable straws aren’t strong enough to withstand hot liquids. Fighting pollution is a necessity, but it should happen in other ways than the outright banning of plastic straws.