Plastic pollution—like single-use plastic straws—impacts critically endangered sea turtles at every stage of their life.
Hatchlings are blocked by debris as they emerge from their nests on the beach; sea turtles drown from becoming entangled in discarded plastic bags, nets, fishing line; sea turtles unintentionally consume plastic in the open ocean when they mistake single use plastic bags for jellyfish, and brightly colored plastics as plant material. In the United States, over 390 million straws are used every day, yet the average lifespan for a straw is 30 minutes. Straws take from 200-500 years to decompose and continue to be a threat to wildlife as they photo-degrade into microplastics. To prevent another sea turtle from becoming a victim to plastic, we must make personal lifestyle alterations to fight for these species.
As part of the worldwide movement to eliminate a source of single-use plastic straws, we are encouraging restaurants and bars on Galveston Island to only provide straws on request and to use reusable or paper straws. To ensure a successful transition, Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Gulf team will provide resources for individuals and businesses to end their use of plastic straws, including the options to purchase reusable straws. On March 1, 2020, at the urging of environmental groups, the City Council and City of Galveston unanimously passed a resolution encouraging restaurants to withhold plastic straws unless customers specifically ask for them. The resolution also encourages businesses to offer straws made of paper, plant fiber, or other material more biodegradable than plastic.
Businesses can eliminate a source of single-use plastic by registering their business for The Final Straw Galveston and using our resources to make the switch to reusable straws. Individuals can help protect sea turtles and other ocean life by taking the pledge to end your use of plastic straws, letting waitstaff know ahead of time you don’t want a straw, purchasing environmentally-friendly straws and carrying them with you, encouraging restaurants to participate in The Final Straw Galveston, showing your support for registered restaurants, and telling your friends to do the same! Spread the word by using #thefinalstrawgalveston.