“I always thought one more straw wouldn’t hurt anyone…”

After years of picking up all sort of consumer waste on our shores including an endless number of straws (e.g. 1,534 straws and stirrers picked up from half of the East Coast beaches this year), I am an enthusiastic advocate of the first maxims in “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” “REDUCE” eliminates improper disposal, space for trash, chemicals from burning or figuring out the complications about recycling.


Picking up that last straw.

November Tan who blogged about the inspirational morning’s activities, has heard the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore coordinators (her fellow museum volunteers) talk about the issue so often, that she actually gave up on straws before attending her first cleanup! She says,

“Reading the article [“Battling the Curse of Marine Litter”], I remember something about straws.

Today when we first reach the shore to start, a fellow NUS volunteer immediately noticed the multitudes of straws there and it made an impact on him straightaway. He said the very familiar line that “I always thought one more straw wouldn’t hurt anyone…” and you know what’s left unspoken.

I’m just glad that … because of all the discussions over the years, I don’t use straws anymore! Apparently the drink stall uncles at arts canteen sees me coming towards them and would straight away say “no straw right?” haha If only more people turn down straws as well.”

George Jacobs, a long-time advocate against straws, would be pleased to hear that. He wrote in again this year to the local broadsheet, The Straits Times (Singapore) to emphasise the point:

Straws not only killer litter, they endanger wildlife too

MR ANDY Voon Kian Hiong is right to say in his letter, ‘Go green, have a straws-free day’ (The Sunday Times, July 8), that we should reduce our use of drinking straws.

For most drinks, most people above the age of three can easily manage without a straw. Straws are not only an unnecessary waste of resources, but they are also a form of killer litter in that they endanger wildlife which mistake straws for food.

Every year, straws are among the most common forms of litter collected by the many volunteers who participate in the International Coast Cleanup, Singapore. This year, International Coastal Cleanup, Singapore will be held on Sept 15. I hope many people will join the clean-up and even more people will litter less and help conserve resources by reducing the use of drinking straws.

George Jacobs

Read the other comments offered by Straits Times readers there, and decide for yourself.

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