A group of students, along with Starpoint Middle School teacher Jessica Smith, have launched a crusade to get rid of plastic straws in the Starpoint School District.
Middle school student Hailey said they were motivated by watching what happens to wildlife.
“It is horrible to see what plastic does to our animals and sea creatures and how much suffering and hurt is caused by it. There will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050,” she said.
Classmate Nathan said not only is plastic bad for the environment, it is bad for everyone.
“I found out that plastic is produced from oil and fossil fuels. We are putting that in our mouths,” he said.
Smith and her students have been reading articles and watching videos about the effects on the environment.
“It takes 200 years for a straw to biodegrade and only one to two days for a paper one to,” said classmate Cody.
Smith noted students were shocked by the statistics and by watching their schoolmates carelessly throw straws in the trash instead of recycling them.
“This is not something that is unique to the United States,” she said. “It is happening all over the world. It is a real hot issue.”
The students wrote a letter to district Superintendent Dr. Sean Croft, and asked if he would consider making the switch from plastic to paper straws at a districtwide level.
One student, Nick, said it would be impossible to ban straws completely.
“Some people need them because they have retainers or medical issues. So we thought we could switch to paper,” he said.
Croft readily agreed and even shared that he uses paper straws at his house.
Not only did the students anti-plastic efforts get them attention at the school, local media picked up on their ambitions to limit the accumulation in landfills.
“We weren’t expecting it to become such a big story,” Smith said. “But it shows the students how powerful writing can be.”
Hailey added it would be great to get rid of plastic utensils all together, but they need to go in baby steps. “I think that will be a great mission for next year.”