I’ve been back in the UK for a couple of days, long enough to notice one big difference between here and the US.
It’s not in portion size, or car size or even political-lie size. In fact it’s not something I’d ever noticed before, mainly because last time we visited the States there wasn’t a difference – but there definitely is now!
In the UK every single time I want a drink outside of my home I’m gripped by low level anxiety. In the US I didn’t feel this, not for a single moment, because in New York there is no straw ban, not even a hint of one.
My arm tics mean that I can’t hold a glass or cup safely. At home I have mugs with lids that keep me dry and hydrated, but out and about I’m reliant on plastic straws. I try to carry biodegradable ones with me wherever I go, but this isn’t fool-proof and as attitudes to straws in the UK have changed, the fear of running out has become an on-going worry.
The UK was moved to act by an episode of David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’ which showed a sea turtle having a straw removed from its nose.
This footage is horrific; no animal should suffer in this way. But I’m guessing that most of those campaigning for straws to be banned don’t face the very real possibility of ending up with one up their own nose, as I do. If they did, I’m pretty sure metal, glass and bamboo would seem less appealing alternatives.
I don’t hate sea turtles, the environment, or even David Attenborough. It’s essential that as a society we tackle climate change and the huge issue of single-use plastic. But this needs to be done in a way that fully considers the requirements of disabled people.
Please don’t reply to this blog with suggestions of alternatives to plastic straws before you’ve read this post.
Access to water isn’t an optional extra for me, or for turtles.