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We have all been learning that, among other pollutants, plastic straws are showing up in large numbers in the Pacific Ocean. Two large islands of plastic have formed near Hawaii. Once plastic pollution ends up in the ocean, it becomes entangled on the bodies of marine mammals, or ends up in their stomachs. Whales give birth to their young near Baja California and then, because of pollution, have problems migrating to waters near Alaska.

Climate change, global warming and forest fires are all of great concern. Plastic straws do not sound very harmful but, cumulatively, they are a big problem. People expect plastic straws in their drinks although the drinks usually can be consumed without them. “The Last Plastic Straw Challenge” is an invitation to all bars and restaurants, to be part of the movement to eliminate plastic pollution from the source. By simply stating on menus “Straws available upon request,” bars and restaurants can be part of the solution.

On a recent visit to Fortuna’s Pepper’s Restaurant, our drink orders arrived without straws. When we asked the waitress about this, she offered us one from a few she kept in her apron pocket. Happily, we declined. Thank you for setting an excellent example, Pepper’s. We hope other restaurants are doing the same.

Richard Leamon, Fortuna

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