Ditch straws this summer in Maryland’s Ocean City, group says

WASHINGTON — An environmental group is urging you not to use disposable plastic straws in Ocean City, Maryland, this summer.

The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean City chapter has launched a “Strawless Summer” campaign to help cut down on plastic pollution in the ocean.

“A little bit of waste multiplied by a whole lot of people really adds up,” Herb Weisbaum of NBCNews.com told WTOP.

“Americans use and throw away about 500 million drinking straws every day — 500 million, according to the National Park Service. That’s enough straws to fill about 46,400 school buses every single year,” Weisbaum said.

Ocean City restaurant owners, residents and visitors are being asked to sign a pledge to join the effort.

The Surfrider Foundation has these tips for individuals:

  • Let waitstaff know ahead of time that you don’t want a straw.
  • Purchase environmentally friendly straws and carry one with you.
  • Encourage restaurants to participate in Strawless Summer.
  • Tell your friends to do the same.

The foundation also encourages restaurants to:

  • Commit to providing straws to customers only upon request and explain to customers why;
  • Train staff on “Straws Upon Request” policy and explain rationale for participation;
  • Participate in becoming an “Ocean-Friendly Restaurant“;
  • Provide feedback on reduction in straw use and customer response.

Currently, there is no law limiting or banning plastic drinking straws in Ocean City.

Other cities and towns nationwide have already taken that step. They include Fort Myers Beach and Miami Beach in Florida; and Davis, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo in California.

Malibu, California, has a new ordinance that takes effect in June and in Washington state, Seattle’s ban kicks in this July.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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