I am a Plastic Straw, I love my existence.
Any edible form of liquid, served normal to cold (except water and beer) would provoke your brain stems and enable a sense of leisure within your subconscious sense towards a chore called ‘sipping’ in your world, an action that falls in line with this pseudo-myth of being in a relaxed state or in thinking state of mind. With 20% of human attention to this action, the rest 80% is towards watching a screen, talking to people, analyzing your ecosystem or staring at the object you’re sipping through, in other words, you’ve chilled, relaxed or just lived another 10 to 20 minutes of your life.
But, in these 10 to 20 minutes of living your life, you’ve used me, a plastic straw, that will remain on your planet for thrice your average age (up to 200 years), that will be consumed by aquatic life forms (google: degraded aquatic life), that will entice your tummy in some form (google: food chain), that will degrade and remain toxic in your world (google: plastic pollution), that will be more or less a sin you’d commit every day, multiple times a day (google: self-realisation).
Wait! To look at the quantum of my existence. There are roughly 5000 million plastic straws used in the world every day which is 1825 billion straws in one year and *drum rolls* there is no evident way of recycling me. I am a plastic straw and hell yeah! I love my existence.
Let’s per se think how I was born?
Humans started ‘sipping’ over 6000 years ago. However Marvin Stone, a paper cigarette holder manufacturer was the first to patent it in 1888. The gentleman used paper and things went fine until World War II, the era when I was born. I took the market by a blaze. I was the most profitable and loved invention of that time. But as they say, “Live in the moment, enjoy what’s in front of you”, the people back then took this statement very seriously and didn’t think about how badly I could ENDANGER their lives in the near future.
Now, just take a moment and think why do you need me? Why am I so important to you?
All I do is channelize a certain form of liquid in your mouth, tongue to be precise and not your teeth. If you’re channelizing any liquid directly to your teeth, it erodes the enamel and causes tooth decay. Anyways, how big a problem it is for you to gulp and not sip? It ain’t, right? For just channelizing a form of any liquid, an action, look at what you’ve put at stake. They say — if the risk is inversely proportional to the damage it can cause — you ideally avoid it. Here’s a classic example my friend of you killing that very ideology.
Think about the perks of gulping over sipping an edible liquid. You could actually taste that liquid so much better as it reaches the corners of your jaws, the tongue. Well, you might avoid gulping if you need to spend a long time at that dedicated space or with the drink or if you’re a kid, the master of spillage while consumption. However, the irony is you love gulping beer, don’t you? You want a certain large portion of it with every attempt adding to your high. Consume quick, attain euphoria!
Forget gulping, do you realize I am made of plastic. And even after all the blah blah approved process and certification, I could still contaminate the edible item I get in touch with? Oh btw! there are a few who chew me (the straw), they like playing with it while it runs across the corners of their mouth. Yuck! I am ashamed of what I am made of and you like playing with it, seriously? The moment you chew me and further use it for consumption, I create 2X the threat that I can actually curate.
But you know all this rant goes in vain. Why? You've adhered yourself to different ways of how your world functions. There are certain norms, let’s use the word ‘habit’ for the lack of better reference. And once you’re addicted to any habit, it becomes a task to even sensitize you about the pros and cons of that habit. You will do it no matter how many of those articles, conferences, policy changes, rallies, and rules are made. You’re used to something, you’re in a comfort zone. Period. Nothing on this planet can get you out of your comfort zone even if it’s meant to destroy the very world you live in.
So, the question remains — How do you get rid of me? The easiest, one can say is use paper straws. But bro, read this guy’s article on paper next week to realize that’s a different ball game altogether.
But I feel there is a way out — go old school. Like I’ve seen a few and Krishnakant uses a metal straw which he’d sanitize and use it again for multiple purposes. It’s easy to carry and would still give you all the luxury of sipping and it’s added benefit.
Don’t take this beautiful world for granted, preserve it, respect it and it shall respect you. And the next time you’re offered me, do not let your brain stems accept it.
After all, I am a plastic straw and I do not wish to love my existence.