CNN reports that single-use plastics like straws have been facing a growing backlash because of the harm it causes the environment. As a result, many cities and establishments have banned or are planning to ban their use entirely — a decision applauded by many.
But the ban will also negatively affect people living with physical disabilities, for whom plastic straws are a necessity.
According to NPR, current alternatives are not as efficient as plastic. Paper straws, for example, dissolve in hot drinks. Metal ones can get too hot or cold, and like bamboo and glass, are hard and inflexible — which poses a safety risk.
Going without straws is equally problematic, especially for those struggling with mobility, and may cause choking or leak liquid into the lungs.
Seattle's new plastic straw ban does exempt people with medical conditions who need the disposable straws, but most places aren't aware of this.
It's also been suggested that instead of an outright ban, companies should come up greener alternatives that will work for everyone, including the disabled.