Plastic straws, like those pictured here, are beginning to be phased out by some fast food outlets and replaced with compostable and biodegradable paper straws. One reader writes that not everyone will climb on board the no-plastics bandwagon right away. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

No-plastics call butts up against some residents’ harsh reality

Those with disabilities, homeless community, could find it hard to adhere to Suzuki’s suggestions

Re: Eliminating plastics is the way to go (Science Matters, July 27)

I became indignant last week upon reading David Suzuki’s suggestion that “people who need to use straws because of disabilities can carry straws made from biodegradable paper or reusable metal, bamboo or glass.”

Thank you for that rather ill-conceived afterthought. Naturally there’s nothing the disabled appreciate more than to be told what they can do by someone without disabilities, or any idea of how extraordinarily difficult everyday life can be – how even mundane activities that others take for granted are often daunting, even insurmountable challenges, and exactly what it means to be layering yet another complication on an already over-burdened demographic.

Another consideration lost on this undoubtedly affluent ideologue are the ramifications this poses for our homeless community. Does he think all the alternatives he blithely offers up are a possibility for those facing the harshest of realities? Sure, let’s ask people without basic necessities like running water to store travel mugs and metal cutlery in their sleeping bags.

And as another article in the same issue already made clear, Victoria’s homeless population only continues to grow; relieving the suffering of our citizens here and now should be our priority. As the sixth-most expensive city in Canada, this is not an easy place to live (even for those currently sheltered). Let’s not make it more difficult with overly prohibitive bans.

For myself, I’m not even sure where I would carry a straw on my person, but I have a suggestion where Mr. Suzuki can put his.

Sara Burke


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