The Straw Ban – where to start and where to end – there are several issues that need to be discussed and there is one issue that is non-negotiable.
Yes, we do have a plastics problem – that’s a given. There are many misunderstandings regarding the major culprits of this and the major areas that are causing the pollution. Those are the areas that can be discussed and hashed out with those environmentalists that understand this issue.
The non-negotiable issue is the use of single-use bendable plastic straws which are life saving tools for many with disabilities. This is not an issue that is only for those who are currently disabled but an issue for everyone. Aging, disease or acquired disability could cause any one of us to rely on these straws for our life. There are no viable alternatives for this population.
I know that photos of sea animals with injuries from plastics is not a pretty sight to see and I feel very sorry for those animals too.
But, I also have great concern for the harm that can come to our fellow humans when they are denied tools that enable them to have a full life. Without these particular straws, people will aspirate and that leads to a whole cascade of events often leading to death.
This is a 17 year old boy who developed acute respiratory failure – could have been something he aspirated. He now has chronic lung damage.
SB 5077 was brought to Senator Patty Kuderer by students at Lake Washington High School. In addition to these students testifying at the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee on January 24, 2019, a younger group of students, the Straw Kids, from Redmond, WA also provided testimony.
While it is terrific to see these young students engaged in the legislative process, it would be great if they could also learn about the lives of those with disabilities and have real concern and understanding for the needs these real people are saying are a necessity to their life.
Please, kids, take a look at the photo of your peer, learn about people with disabilities and the tools they need to live, do not deny life to your fellow humans.