Two Busy Days Polluting and Killing
By Lara Lorenzo Cicernos
I was born two days ago and now I am dying. And I am not the only one, we are around 22,000 of us dying just today. We are all plastic tubes and we only do one thing in our lives: transport drinks from a bottle to a human mouth. The first of us was created the 3rd January of 1888, by Marvin Stone. So, by now you should know who I am: a plastic straw. And I am going to tell you my story.
Basically, two days ago, a small amount of polypropylene gas (a thermoplastic made from the combination of propylene monomers) was extracted thanks to fossil fuel and electricity. And on the other hand, some plasticizers and colourants were created and processed, using chemical and thermal energy. These three materials were mixed later in a specific machine until they were finished plastic pellets. After that, they were shaped into plastic straws, crafting my siblings and me. Then, we were wrapped in paper sleeves without previous warning. As you can imagine, a great amount of energy was required for our creation, something which did not have a positive impact on the environment. However, my impact on the environment does not end here. Let´s continue with my story!
Yesterday, I was transported with my siblings and much more straws to a store in the city center. We stayed there the whole morning. But at midday we were transported again! This time I went to a Starbucks, and others went to a McDonald’s. My time there was not the best one, it was even disgusting. I can remember a girl ordering a mocha coffee to the waiter, and suddenly she was drinking her coffee through me, such a weird moment. But the worst part came later. When she finished her drink, she threw me to the bin. Can you believe it? Anyway, I was not alone there, I was with more straws, glasses and napkins, and we all shared the same situation.
Last night we went for a very long trip by truck. And when I woke up this morning I was on a boat, in a port. In the afternoon I was with my siblings when we heard a huge storm, the wind became crazy and it started to rain heavily. We thought the weather was going to improve a bit, but we were not right, and the wind made us fly. I promise you that I thought I was going to die there, but unfortunately my torture continued a bit more time.
After 10 minutes “flying”, I reached the Ocean. Yes, the Ocean. The big waves took me to a seashore, which could be very beautiful if there was not as much rubbish as there was. As I said at the beginning of the story, we are around 22,000 plastic straws dying today all around the world. Despite knowing this information, I think it is equally hard to imagine this sad and dirty place!
Anyway, right now I am not at the beach anymore. I am in a dark, warm and small place with a lot of rubbish, mostly plastic. We can hear screams of pain all the time and we are a bit scared. Nevertheless, I know what this annoying sound is: a little turtle. He ate me a few minutes ago because I was tangled in some algae. Unhappily, this is not the only sea creature that is suffering now. It is said that between 40-60% of turtles eat plastic and in some bird species this percentage increases until more than 93%. More than a million of birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die every year because of all plastics that reach the Ocean.
My goal in life is to make human lives easier helping them to drink drinks, not to pollute as much as my creation and my transportation do, “feed” small turtles and make them die. I was not created for this and I deserve to have a clear conscience the rest of my life (I can take up to 500 years to decompose in our environment). Now I can just ask you one favour: use reusable straws (such as metal, glass, silicone or bamboo ones), which are eco-friendly and can live longer than me (just 2 days!), save lives and our planet Earth.