It took a video of a poor sea turtle having a straw removed from his nose to understand why this needs to be done. 

A few weeks ago, we told you that Challenger Group, the minds behind Amsterdam Lounge, the Tailgate Tap House, China Blue and Dirty Little Roddy's, were eliminating plastic straws at their establishments. Now some fellow Downtown Boise businesses are following suit.

Bittercreek Ale House and Red Feather Lounge tell KTVB that they are joining what's become known as "The Last Plastic Straw" initiative and will be phasing out both plastic straws and drink stir sticks.  It's a big change when you consider the restaurant group's historical purchase orders show that they order over 130,000 straws in a single calendar year.  They'll exhaust what's left of that stock and then begin offering patrons a biodegradable paper straw if they'd like one for their drink.

So what's the big deal about plastic straws? They're a single use product that aren't recyclable due to how thin they are.  Straws that find their way out of landfills and into the ecosystem pose a danger to animals in the surrounding area.  I didn't really get it either until a video of college students interacting with a sea turtle on a research trip went viral. I'm a sucker for turtles in the first place, so that made the video that much harder for me to watch.  The poor Oliver Ridley sea turtle had a plastic drinking straw lodged in it's nostril.  The students thought it was a tube worm and attempted to remove it to help the turtle breathe better. You can tell in the video that it was in a great deal of pain during the ordeal.

I've included that video for you in case you're one of the people who thinks the move to eliminate plastic straws is over the top.  Before you push play, be warned the video does contain graphic footage of the turtle bleeding as the straw is being removed.


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