Featured Image Credit:http://nynjbaykeeper.org
Saint Petersburg, Florida, is a city situated on the Tampa Bay. The resident’s connection to the
water has inspired a new movement to keep it clean! Local leaders voted 5 to 2 to ban plastic within the
city limits. Straws, a piece of single-use plastic under fire from worldwide audiences, will only be served
by-request by 2020, while styrofoam products will be out of use just weeks into 2019.
Known by its brand name “Styrofoam”, the chemical polystyrene is commonly found as to go
boxes and insulated drink cups. The light and delicate material is known for degrading into tiny pieces
much faster than its other plastic counterparts, making it especially dangerous for humans and wildlife
alike. The soft material also absorbs environmental chemicals like a sponge, increasing the toxicity of the
material. According to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s National Institute of
Health, the chemicals in Styrofoam caused increased risk of lymphoma and leukemia in workers that
develop the compound.
As much as 40 percent of debris found in streams is Styrofoam, largely due to how easily the
material blows around in the wind. The other subject of Saint Pete’s plastic ban, single-use straws, have
plagued beaches across the world. In The Ocean Conservancy’s citizen science project, the “International
Coastal Cleanup”, 9 million straws have been collected in just 30 years. The upcoming 2019 year will be
a phase-out period in which businesses will still be allowed to serve plastic straws without a customer
request. Starting in January 2020, businesses that serve straws automatically will be warned at the first
offense, then fined up to $80 for each additional offense.
Saint Pete joins cities and states across the United States that are banning single-use plastic
products. California, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Seattle are just a handful of other places that are
confronting plastic pollution head-on. Internationally, Scotland, Taiwan, and areas of Britain are also
limiting their consumption. Read more about Saint Pete’s plastic bans from our source here, and learn
more about how you can ban plastic from YOUR life at the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas page.