Goodbye Plastic and Hello To The Bamboo Straw!
MRCI preforms regular beach cleans on Nosy Komba and the most common trash found during these cleans is plastic. Plastic is a major issue for the environment because it takes over 200 years to degrade. However due to the fact that plastic is not biodegradable, the tiny plastic fragments will remain on the earth forever.
Unfortunately, plastic drinking straws are primarily made out of type 5 plastic, or polypropylene. This type of plastic is not easily recyclable so most recycling plants do not accept type 5 plastic. Without a means to recycle plastic straws, they tend to end up in landfills, the ocean, or are burned. According to getgreennow.com, straws/stirrers are the 11th most found ocean trash in cleanups. Straws are also typically a single use item, meaning that once it is used it is thrown away. With drinking straws being a common addition to any drink in most restaurants, the amount of straws being used in a day around the world is astronomical.
Due to these facts our Volunteers and staff were determined to find a way to cut down on the use of plastic straws on Nosy Komba. With the combined efforts of the Marine and Forest programs the idea to replace plastic straws with the bamboo straw was born!
Bamboo is widely found on the island, is fast growing, and is 100% biodegradable! Our Forest program has added bamboo harvesting into their regular schedule now and the production process has begun! Our Forest Volunteers harvest bamboo shoots that are the appropriate straw width then bring them back to camp where they are processed. The Bamboo is then cut down to the right length, smoothed out, and cleaned. Processing the straws is an activity that all members of camp can take part in!
The next step is to test out our first batch of straws! MRCI will be providing straws to a local restaurant who has agreed to take part in our bamboo straw testing. Our Forest program is looking to gain information on how the bamboo straw compares to their plastic counterpart during this trial. The overall goal is that the straws will become an ongoing project on camp and that multiple restaurants on Nosy Komba, and hopefully Nosy Be as well will begin to use the bamboo straw instead of plastic!
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