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Jun 10 2016

My name is Sara and I am 13 years old. I have lived in Sayulita for almost a year now and I think it is a magical place. One of my favorite things to do is to walk over to the turtle release site (Campamento Tortuguero) on the North beach and see the hatchlings there; and then watch them scuttling into the ocean at sunset. But there is one problem…


If you have ever seen the video on youtube of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up his nostril you will know that straws are a BIG problem (parental supervision advised; there is a lot of bad language…). In fact, I bet you didn´t know that straws take about 200 years to decompose and they are the fifth most common object found in beach clean-ups. In fact scientists tell us that around 90% of the garbage floating in the oceans of the world are plastic products and more than 1,000,000 sea birds and 100,000 marine animals ingest plastics. So, when you think that more than 500,000,000 plastic straws are made every day and that plastic is considered to be the most harmful product for our environment, you can see why I am worried about straws.

So, when the turtle and the straw video went viral a few years ago, two of the restaurants here in Sayulita (Tracie Willis, owner of ChocoBanana and manager Angel Moreno from La Terrazola) made a stand for turtles; they turned their restaurants into ‘straw free’ zones.

Since it has been a couple of years since that turtle and the straw video went viral; I thought it would be interesting to find out how many straws people are still leaving on our beach. Take a guess…

So, on Friday, May 6th, I did my own beach clean-up along the commercial zone from the OXXO to Don Pedro’s and found 282 pieces of trash, including 22 straws. That is 7.7% of the total pieces of trash collected- almost 2% higher than the average of straws picked up in beach clean-ups in Quintana Roo (which has far more tourists than Sayulita does). That sounds like bad news to me and to all those turtles who come to our beach to lay their eggs.

So here’s the deal:

1. When you go to a restaurant and order a cold drink, just tell the waiter “no straw please” (or if you are practicing your Spanish “sin popote porfavor”).

2. If you own a restaurant, consider becoming a ‘straw free’ zone. This is actually cool and you might gain more customers because of this.

3. If you see a straw that some unenlightened person has dropped, just pick it up and put it in the recycling bin. It doesn´t take much to make a difference, does it? Just dare to care and maybe we can give our Sayulita turtles a happy ending….