LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, VA, UNITED STATES
Story by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois
Establishments around the country have jumped on the straw-free bandwagon in an effort to prevent pollution and decrease harm to wildlife.
With Earth Day right around the corner, Joint Base Langley-Eustis will celebrate by kicking off their straw-free campaign on April 22, 2019.
“Plastic straws are among the top ten items found in beach or shoreline litter,” said Sherry Johnson, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron pollution prevention program manager. “The location of Langley Air Force Base gives us an opportunity to support a global environmental movement and to make a positive direct impact on our community, on land and water.”
Dining Facilities on Langley Air Force Base will no longer provide straws unless the customer requests them.
According to strawfree.org, Americans use more than 500 million straws every day, which is enough straws to wrap around the Earth twice.
Unlike other plastics, plastic straws, which are small and lightweight, cannot be recycled. Instead of being biodegradable, straws photodegrade or break up into smaller pieces, ultimately lasting longer in the environment than typical plastics.
“Plastic straws are easily transported to waterways after the wind carries them away from landfills or they wash down a storm drain,” Johnson said. “Seabirds and marine animals suffer the greatest impact…[they] confuse the plastic straws as food and often ingest the material.”
Johnson noted the recent discovery of a young beached whale found to have over 80 pounds of plastic in its stomach.
“We would ask military members and their families to make an attempt to say, ‘No straw, please,’ as a daily habit,” Johnson said. “We recommend using a reusable metal or biodegradable straw as an alternative if a straw is needed. We hope the support we receive on base can translate to increased support off base.”
In keeping with the environmental initiative, the 633rd CES will host Earth Week events such as safe drain maintenance, community clean-up, Nature Trail Preservation, Bench Building and an Arbor Day ceremony.
For more information about JBLE Earth Week events or to volunteer, contact Sherry Johnson at 757-764-1130.