Just Say No To Plastic Straws

Just Say No To Plastic Straws
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

Plastic straws are used in huge amounts across the globe and billions are used annually. National Geographic has estimated that in the United Kingdom alone, over 4,400,000,000 plastic straws are discarded each year. In the USA, millions are thrown away daily. [1] Add in the figures for all the rest of the world’s countries and that’s an astonishing amount of plastic trash. Most of these straws are not recycled. They are a single use item that is in fact barely necessary. Life would go on just fine without them!

Plastic straws often end up in the oceans due to their light weight – and cause great damage to marine life. Plastic straws are gradually broken down by sunlight, wind, and water into small fragments called microplastics. Microplastics are taken in by marine life unintentionally as the creatures can not readily differentiate them from food. These ingested straws and broken up pieces of straws, together with other plastic trash, clog the stomach so much that it makes it impossible for the animal to take actual food. A study conducted between 2008 to 2010 at the Brazilian coast found that 15 % of penguins found dead at the coast contained plastic items in their stomach. [1] This is a horrible situation.

The negative impact of plastic straws is huge as they contribute to toxic plastic waste which disrupts every ecosystem on the planet. Marine life and seabirds are greatly harmed by plastic trash and is is now thought that more than 1 million birds and 100,000 marine creatures are killed every year by the ingestion of plastics. [3]

The move to ditch plastic straws is under way. Some cities in the USA have banned them and other countries have proposed bans. This can’t happen soon enough!

Further options include a) simply not using a straw at all b) using a washable, reusable stainless steel (or glass) straw c) using biodegradable / compostable straws made for example from PLA (polylactic acid), rye stems, bamboo or even uncooked pasta. [1]

Learn More: Do You Know Which Plastics Have The Highest Cancer Risk? ► https://herbshealthhappiness.com/do-you-know-which-plastics-have-the-highest-cancer-risk/

References:

[1] The Death of the Plastic Straw https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment-and-conservation/2018/05/death-plastic-straw

[2] Brandão, M.L., K.M. Braga, and J.L. Luque, Marine debris ingestion by Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus (Aves: Sphenisciformes), from the Brazilian coastal zone. Marine pollution bulletin, 2011. 62(10): p. 2246-2249. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0025326X11003997

[3] Panageas, A., The Environmental Impact of Straws and Other Plastics. DU Quark, 2019. 3(2): p. 66-68. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1462901119313656

If You Really Think The Environment Is Less Important Than The Economy

If You Really Think The Environment Is Less Important Than The Economy
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

While the world focuses on ‘virus issues’, I have noticed a huge amount of litter in the countryside lately. Whether this is from a lack of staff to clear it up, or from an increased carelessness, I am not sure. But it is despicable and completely unnecessary. Who are these people?? Avoid Littering! There is simply no excuse for it other than pure disrespect. But litter is more than just ugliness, it causes harm to wildlife.

Here are a few further simple tips. Just play a part. Do something. If we all just stepped up and played a part, we could solve this problem.

Plant Trees: Trees contribute to purifying the air around us and help in climate control. Greenhouse gases have poisoned the air and have led to the depletion of the protective ozone layer. Trees emit oxygen in the environment that reduces the level of greenhouse gases.

Avoid Plastic Usage: Plastics are a non-biodegradable substance that does not decompose, but instead breaks into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics due to the action of air, water, and heat. [1]. Plastics in the environment cause great damage to marine life and birds and microplastics end up back in the food chain where they will come full circle and be eaten by us! Plastic is, quite simply, a disaster and it would be ideal if its use could be banned and it be replaced with less harmful materials, I doubt that this will happen though because idiot politicians don’t really care about anything they are not being paid by lobbyists to push on the public.

Go Solar: Coal and petroleum, two main sources of energy have notorious effects of air pollution. Coal burning also releases mercury which ends up migrating through the food chain and into large fish such as tuna and swordfish, which must now only be consumed in smaller quantities in order to avoid mercury overexposure.

More Tips – 40 Ways To Go Greener At Home: http://off-grid.info/blog/40-ways-to-go-greener-at-home/

References:

[1] Derraik, J.G., The pollution of the marine environment by plastic debris: a review. Marine pollution bulletin, 2002. 44(9): p. 842-852. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X02002205

[2] Angrill, S., et al., Environmental analysis of rainwater harvesting infrastructures in diffuse and compact urban models of Mediterranean climate. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 2012. 17(1): p. 25-42. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11367-011-0330-6

If The Bee Disappears From The Surface Of The Earth…

If The Bee Disappears From The Surface Of The Earth
Image © fotolia.com (under license)

The Importance Of Bees:

Pollination Work Of Bees: Bees are vital for the preservation of the ecosystem as they help keep ecological balance and biodiversity in nature. They provide one of the most important ecological services: Pollination, which makes food production possible. [1] Bees make excellent pollinators as they collect pollen, a source of protein that they feed to their offspring. Bees collect pollen from the flowers through electrostatic force and attach to the hair on their bodies and transfer to another flower. Bees account for 90-95 % of all insect pollination. [2] By pollination, they perform a vital function which allows the ecosystem and plant species to propagate. They also contribute to the genetic and biotic diversity of plant species.

Wildlife Habitats: Many people forget that forest trees require pollination in order for fertile seeds to be produced. Bees, in their role as pollinators, thus play a vital role in forest growth – including both tropical and temperate forests. Many tree species – for example willows and poplars – depend on bees for pollination. Not only wild environments but backyard gardens, which serve as the home for many birds and insects, require the pollination of plants for their survival.

Biodiversity: Bees make an essential contribution to biodiversity, due to their work as pollinators. [3] Pollination enables the propagation of trees and diverse other plant species. Plants in turn then function as habitats for animal life. The contribution bees make to complex ecosystems is enormous and without them it is likely that very many other species might become extinct.

Food Source: Bees produce honey to feed their colonies during cold winter. Humans as well as raccoons, opossums, and other insects also use it as a food source.

Here’s something you CAN do to help… plant bee-friendly plants!

Top 10 Plants To Encourage Bees To Your Garden: http://off-grid.info/blog/top-10-plants-to-encourage-bees-to-your-garden/

16 oz Of Honey Requires 1152 Bees To Travel 112,000 Miles: http://herbshealthhappiness.com/16-oz-of-honey-requires-1152-bees-to-travel-112000-miles/

References:

[1] Delaplane, K.S., D.R. Mayer, and D.F. Mayer, Crop pollination by bees. 2000: Cabi. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ZHGZkXa7xE4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR12

[2] Majewski, J., Economic Value of Pollination of Major Crops in Poland. Economic Science for Rural Development, 2014. 34: p. 14-21. https://llufb.llu.lv/conference/economic_science_rural/2014/…/.pdf

[3] Abrol, D.P., Pollination biology: biodiversity conservation and agricultural production. 2011: Springer Science & Business Media. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=clwm8CSIIdIC&oi=fnd&pg=PR3