500 million. This is the number of plastic straws the US uses every single day.
Quick arithmetic will tell you that is roughly 180 billion straws a year. While they are small and perhaps thought of as harmless, 180 billion of anything made out of plastic has the potential to be extremely harmful to any environment.
Plastic straws are now a major source of plastic pollution in the Virgin Islands. They are a single use plastic item put into most restaurant drinks served in the Virgin Islands.
And all those straws, add up.
Recognizing this, several volunteer groups on St. John have made removing them from restaurants a top priority. The Coral Bay Community Council, Get Trashed-St. John, and Plastic Free Island: St John have united to create the “No Straw, Please” Social Media Campaign and Competition. The three organizations have been coordinating their efforts with Plastic Pollution Coalition which is responsible for the nationwide “The Last Plastic Straw” campaign.
The campaign kick-off is a “no plastic straw” humorous video posted on the Coral Bay Community Council (CBCC) Facebook page. The video begins the campaign and announces a video making competition where anyone in the VI can create a 30-60 second video about plastic straws and their impact and win a great prize! The application and rules are posted on the CBCC’s website (http://coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/solid-waste-2/no-straw-please-video-competition/), among other places. The video can be fun, humorous, informational, documentary, dramatic, or even cartoonish. The deadline for submission is July 23rd. The videos will be compiled by CBCC and Plastic Free Island: St. John and shown publicly at the end of July. A team of judges will choose the winner and runner up, prizes include 2-night mini vacations at Gallows Point Resort and Concordia Eco Resort, including dinners at The Westin, Extra Virgin Bistro, The Thirsty Donkey, and Skinny Legs, and breakfasts at The Triple B and Cruz Bay Landing.
“We really want to thank these members of the business community on St. John for donating these prize packages in an effort to bring attention to the amount of environmental damage the single use plastics can cause, and the result is two individuals or groups are going to walk away with a glorious weekend getaway on St. John” said Scott Eanes, from the Coral Bay Community Council, and the organizer of the “No Straw, Please” video competition.
“By drawing attention to the use of plastic straws, and the reality that they are not necessary for enjoying your beverages, it is intended to help all of us consider ways to reduce single use items – and the resulting waste and litter. Restaurants and individuals can do their part. Better decisions for the environment will be made, especially when it comes to protecting the beauty of the Virgin Islands.”
To learn more about the competition or to submit a video, contact Scott Eanes at the Coral Bay Community Council at 340-776-2099 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also become a volunteer in this effort with CBCC, Get Trashed-St. John, or Plastic Free Island: St. John, the cosponsors of this competition.
The link to the application can be found here.