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Will Dropping Plastic Straws Make A Dent In Ocean Pollution?

Starbucks made headlines recently when the company announced it would stop using plastic straws in its 28,000 stores around the world by 2020. The city of Seattle’s ban on plastic straws just went into effect this month, and McDonald’s is phasing them out in stores in the UK, Ireland and Australia.

Some people in the disability community have spoken out against the bans, saying that many people with disabilities need to use straws. But the trend of getting rid of them doesn’t seem to be going anywhere quite yet.

The organization For A Strawless Oceansays that, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. And straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycle sorter, so the ocean is often where they end up.

But the question remains — will these bans make a real dent in the ocean’s plastics problem? For some insight on that, The Show got a hold of Dr. Susan Shaw. She’s the founder of the environmental research organization the Shaw Institute, and she put this all into context.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.