Fort Myers Beach Bans Plastic Straws
By Kelly Dean
In a move to protect the beach, visitors and wildlife, the city of Ft. Myers Beach has banned plastic straws. According to this WZVN post, the city has decided that people can get along just fine without straws in deference to wildlife health. Harrowing images of sea turtles in obvious pain from a straw stuck in their nostril have gone viral all over the internet. It’s also easy to find images of stomach contents from marine life and birds containing large quantities of plastic single use items. It’s literally gut-wrenching watching rescuers and wildlife managers deal with these injured animals.
The law doesn’t just apply to the beach either. It applies to the whole town, so these items cannot be brought onto the island. Straws are the main issue because they easily get buried in the sand and then wash out to sea.
Careless folks often leave these items behind, but in fairness, they simply blow around too. A plastic bag makes a nice parasail for plastic straws and eating utensils in a 15 mile per hour gust of wind, common at the beach. Open dumpsters, cars and boats are also vulnerable to trash blowing out of them.
I wrote a more comprehensive article some time ago about how banning all plastic single use items near the bays and beaches would be a good idea. The beach, visitors and wildlife simply don’t need a small human convenience outweighing wildlife health. In the case of straws, we’ll just have to drink from the rim of the glass – which is especially desirable when drinking a Margarita anyway.
Restaurants might grumble a bit at first, but I think eventually servers will take pride in being a part of wildlife preservation.
Now if we could just get those plastic bags, cups and eating utensils away from the ocean as well.