While many environmentalists are hailing decisions to do away with plastic straws in states, cities and big companies, advocates are pointing out that such bans will make life all the more difficult for the disabled.
“I know the environmental damage they cause, but I don’t have the luxury of a plastic-free life … I get uncomfortable and angry when I see non-disabled people behave as though they know the answer to this dilemma in exchanges that can get heated, if not abusive,” wrote Penny Pepper in a Guardian op-ed. Pepper, a disability rights activist, relies on the convenience plastic straws provide.
Unfortunately, for many people affected with physical impairments, the new ban in San Francisco does not explicitly factor in disability access, but it does add that “strict compliance” with the new ordinance is not required if it should “interfere with accommodating for any person’s medical needs.”
Critics argue that alternatives for single-use plastic straws — such as plastic lids or metal straws that can’t bend — are extremely difficult for people who have limited motor skills. Paper straws, others point out, can become soggy and disintegrate before a handicapped person is even able to finish their drink. – READ MORE
“The city of Santa Barbara has passed an ordinance that will allow restaurant employees to be punished with up to six months of jail time or a $1,000 fine after a second offense of giving plastic straws to their customers,” reported National Review.
“Each contraband straw or unsolicited plastic stirrer counts as a separate violation, so fines and jail time could stack up quickly,” explained Reason Magazine. Their report added that there aren’t exemptions for disabled people, who may rely on straws as a matter of necessity.
It turns out that America is actually way ahead of the pack when it comes to staying tidy. The leading source of plastic pollution in the oceans is communist China.
“In 2010, 8.8 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste in the ocean was traced back to China while 3.2 million metric tons came from Indonesia,” reported Statista, based on research conducted by the University of Georgia environmental science department.
The U.S. barely makes the list of plastic offenders. There are eleven countries with worse ocean pollution records, and all of them are developing nations. Of the top twelve plastic waste sources, the United States is responsible for a mere one percent of the problem. – READ MORE