Every day, many sea turtles are hurt by the oceans filled with plastic due to the pollution created by humans. Recently, many people have become more aware of the waste discarded into the ocean by humans, and multiple states have issued bans on plastic straws. This ban is one step further towards getting rid of single-use plastic items altogether. But, how does this affect the lives of individuals who rely on straws, specifically the lives of those living with disabilities?
As more local, city and state governments look into banning plastic straws, many of them fail to take into account how the lives of disabled individuals will be affected by the actions. For people who have little mobility or have trouble holding items, straws can help them to get through the day, giving them the ability to enjoy a drink at ease. Under a ban on plastic straws, restaurants will no longer have straws on hand, meaning that disabled people will need to remember to carry straws with them at all times. If they spontaneously decide to go out with some friends, for example, and don’t have a straw on hand, they might struggle with putting a cup to their mouths and have a greater chance of choking. While banning straws is beneficial for the environment and the safety of animals, it can create more problems for disabled individuals.
However, there are alternatives to plastic straws, such as reusable straws. However, there is controversy about whether these are beneficial or harmful for disabled people. “I am totally okay with reusable straws. Some of the concerns of other people may have with them are regarding the quality of reusable items and the safety term,” said Simon Yu ’21. Some reusable straws are not flexible, which can be a limitation for people with disabilities.
Although this potential ban on plastic straws demonstrates that many are beginning to take initiative to save the planet, all sides must be considered when implementing laws. It is important for politicians to think about the lives that will be changed as a result of this ban and come up with alternative solutions for these individuals.