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Watch who draws the short straw to solve plastic problem

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Plastic drinking straws have become a wedge issue.

On the one hand, straws are a potent symbol of our plastic problem. On the other, they are essential aids for many people with disabilities.

It’s Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday and straws will be a big part of the litter.

Nationally, plastic straws were the fifth most numerous item of rubbish found by clean-up volunteers last year, and in NSW, the most populous state, they were second only to cigarette butts.

Plastic drinking straws are ubiquitous though environmentalists want to change this.Credit:Alamy

It takes 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose. They usually can’t be recycled. Like all plastics, they are a danger to marine life. Scientists have even found plastic pollution in the bodies of sea creatures living in the Mariana Trench, the farthest depths of the ocean.

Surely it would be easy to just get rid of the darn things? For most of us, straws are a luxury.

Venues from the Sydney Opera House to Grill’d burger chain and numerous other pubs and restaurants around the country have started going proudly straw-free or providing alternatives. One of the organisations leading this work is called The Last Straw, and at last count, it had signed up 474 businesses across Australia as “Straw-Conscious Venues”.

Some cafes have banned plastic straws and are using steel ones........

© Canberra Times