Taking care of the environment has been an ongoing process with no end in sight and Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS), as well as local businesses, continue to make an effort to preserve the Earth.
The Los Angeles City Council recently approved a new order that states that restaurants may not offer straws to customers and they may only be given upon a customer’s request. This order will go into effect on Earth Day, April 22, this year.
LA County and DPMHS have various recycling bins placed in convenient locations to make them easily accessible for individuals to encourage them to not litter. However, despite having the resources to make environmentally friendly decisions, littering continues to be an issue.
“I think students can make sure that the recycling materials get in the right bin and being conscious about how much paper they are using, ” Principal Deb Smith said. “Are they wasting paper, tissue or paper towels? I think all of those things can help keep the environment better.”
DPMHS has blue recycling bins placed around the school for student use and teachers have boxes in their classrooms specifically for empty bottles. By having these available to the students, the school is encouraging them to toss their trash into the correct bin.
However, students still tend to place bottles in the wrong bin and since the trash is not sorted often, it does not get recycled. The Leadership class used to collect the bottles from the bins but with no one available to take the bottles to a recycling plant, this no longer happens. As of now, the plastic bottles are just placed in the large bin outside which is taken by the county to be recycled.
“We don’t have a very functioning recycling system,” history teacher Davy Mauermann said. “There’s not a clear method on how to do things.”
The biggest issue being tackled all over the country is the extensive amount of plastic littering the oceans and landfills. According to an organization called The Last Plastic Straw, about 500 million straws are used and discarded each day in the United States. These straws go into landfills or into the ocean, harming wildlife.
“If (getting rid of straws) helps the environment in a small way,” senior Adrian Contreras said. “It’s not going to change my life so I’m not going to mind at all.”
New measures are being undertaken to protect the wildlife and the environment as a whole. Local restaurants such as Benihana and In-N-Out are either handing out new straws that are not plastic or first asking the customer if they’d like a straw rather than including it with the order. Other restaurants are simply not giving straws with drinks at all.
“I think it’s a great idea,” junior Karen Ticas said. “I think there should be more paper straws in restaurants.”
While the community is attempting to lower the usage of straws, DPMHS continues to provide students with plastic straws, tissues and a plastic spork in one plastic pack. If a student wants just one of the items above, they have to open a whole pack which often leads to the utensils they don’t need to be thrown in the trash. These utensils are then not recycled and further contaminate the ecosystem.