Who knew in 2018 I’d be writing about my right to have a plastic straw? It’s a straw. I love my environment, animals, ocean – but I also believe we as humans have the right to fair, accessible accommodation. In today’s society, if it’s considered harmful, we must get rid of it all together. It’s simply untrue. We’re allowed to make our own decisions. As humans, we are made to be the ones who take care of the environment – and yes, some people will never care. But unless you are leaving ZERO polluting footprint on this Earth (nearly impossible) you shouldn’t be telling ANYONE how to pollute the Earth. That sounds silly, but it’s dang true.1
It’s been said that balloons are a bigger pollutant in our ocean than straws. So, why aren’t we getting rid of balloons? I’m allergic to balloons. They have no purpose to me. I’m not out there protesting the use of balloons. Just because a plastic straw can be easily replaced by you doesn’t mean that it can be replaced as easily by everyone. Please think about how it feels to be told the ONE thing that helps you feel the least bit independent is being banned.
Cell phones are killing bees, but if we got rid of cell phones no one would be able to survive because we are all so used to them. Yeah, it’s not always a good thing, but if you really want to start saving the environment, don’t use a cell phone. Or a tablet. Or a laptop. Start DOING something individually instead of tweeting about it, posting it on Facebook, and creating bans. Bans inhibit our freedom. Learn to be a responsible human. I’m sure something you did recently caused more pollution than a disabled person being able to eat through a plastic straw.
While I was in the hospital, flat on my back, I relied on plastic straws for protein shakes. I couldn’t lift my head so I needed a bendy straw. They gave me a large reusable silicone-tube-like straw and eventually I didn’t use them anymore because I couldn’t wash it myself. I’d drink my protein drink, put it in my water, still tasted like protein drink. That also meant that it was super dangerous for bacteria. Some people with disabilities cannot just go clean off their straw if they drop it on the ground. It isn’t a reasonable accomodation.
In the American with Disabilities Act, it states People with Disabilities have the right to “reasonable accommodation” and I bet for some PWD, they’d argue a plastic straw is a “reasonable accomodation”. By default, this means, the failure to accommodate a plastic straw CAN be against the law and therefore you could fight it in court. I’m not saying it will happen, but I’m saying you could probably fight it and win. A straw is like 5 cents. It’s definitely reasonable to keep in case someone needs one.
I’m not saying you can’t change to more eco-friendly straws in businesses, I’m saying have them around in case someone wants that reasonable accomodation. There are far better ways to help your environment. I don’t see a lot of people picking up the trash on the side of the highway. There were plenty of things in elementary school I learned to help the environment and none of them included banning straws, so why do it now?
I’m not saying our environment isn’t important, but as humans, we cannot make even one person feel like less of a human being by taking away their right to reasonable accommodation. You wouldn’t want to lose your basic rights, would you?