The now viral Utube video of the sea turtle having a straw removed from its nose with a set of pliers was certainly heart breaking to view but most certainly it appeared to make the world sit up and pay attention to the plight of our oceans.
Straws are consistently on the top 10 lists for marine debris collected every year during International Coastal Cleanups and the Maldives is no different as we have found from our own experience of beach clean ups.It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more pieces of plastic in our ocean than fish.
FACT – 1 straw is manufactured in 1 minute
FACT – 1 straw is used for an average of 10 minutes
FACT – 1 straw takes 100 years to decompose
Last year 1.3milion tourists visited the Maldives with each guest staying an average of 6 days. Even if each of those guests only had one drink served with a straw per day during their stay that is 7.8milion straws and that is most likely a conservative estimate.
Sadly, plastic pollution has become a key environmental issue in the Maldives as well as Worldwide. In the Maldives evidence of plastic bottles, straws, carrier bags and other plastic waste scatter our islands and wash up regularly on our beautiful beaches and this waste has a negative impact on our environment and our marine life.
Local NGOs, island communities and environmental groups are working hard to clean up the countries plastic issue with initiatives including beach clean ups, reduction of plastic bag use and environmental awareness campaigns.
The simple fact of the matter is, that we all need to join together and fight this worldwide plastic issue. If everyone makes a small change it will only have a huge long term positive effect on the environment and our oceans. Britain has announced this week that they are banning single use plastic straws alongside Canada and other countries. In the Maldives we are seeing many of the luxury resorts ban the straw and move to biodegradable alternatives. Now it is the time for local island businesses to make that change.
War on Straws
On World Environment Day, June 5th 2018 we invited all our partner guesthouse properties to pledge to STOP the use of plastic drinking straws in their guest houses.
In return we pledged to:
- Collect any remaining straws from them.
- Dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way.
- Provide a certificate for each business to display and use to promote their support.
- Provide information that can be shared with both staff and guests as to why the plastic straw should be no more.
- Request all our guests to refuse the straw.
We were delighted to gain the support of the following properties within less than 24 hours and we are confident that other partners will swiftly come on board.
This we know is the start of a long journey, but a journey that we hope will gather momentum and support across all local islands, not just with our partner guesthouses but with other businesses too.
Our guiding team will continually monitor properties on their tour visits and when we complete our annual property audits to ensure that each guesthouse maintains its commitment to our initiative and offer support as necessary.
If you are a tourist visiting local islands in the Maldives and find a local guesthouse or hotel still serving plastic straws, we encourage you to take a photo and tag us on Instagram @secretparadisemaldives #letusguideyou #strawwarMV and we will make contact with them to see if they will unite with us on our mission to ban plastic straws altogether.
The call to action to eliminate single use plastic including plastic drinking straws is getting louder and louder worldwide, let’s add the voice and actions of the Maldives.