For the love of dolphins, 10-year-old Harriet Dawes from Fourways set out to make a difference to the marine environment, and approached Montecasino to join ‘The Last Straw’ campaign, an initiative to eliminate the use of plastic straws due to their lasting damage to the environment, particularly to ocean life.
Harriet is an enthusiastic member of the 1st Fourways Cubs Pack and after participating in river clean-ups at Emmarentia Dam and Jukskei River, decided to research environmental conservation and do something about it for her ‘Leaping Wolf’ challenge. She says, “Dolphins are my favourite animals so I chose the marine environment to research. I learned that people do not recycle enough and the biggest problem is single-use disposable plastics, like straws, that cannot be recycled.” She was struck by “horrible photos of sea creatures suffering from having plastic items around or inside their bodies”.
She wrote to Montecasino asking for support for ‘The Last Straw’ campaign. Mike Page, Director of Operations and Complex GM, says, “We were inspired by Harriet’s letter. She pointed out that she’s aware that Montecasino has extensive recycling systems, waste processes, and public recycling bins in place, and asked that we consider stopping the use of plastic straws on the property. As a community-centred and environmentally responsible property, this request was taken very seriously. We constantly strive to be a catalyst for change in our community, and we have begun the process of engaging with our tenants to consider alternatives to plastic single-use straws.”
Says Mike, “Harriet was speaking our language when she said she believes Montecasino can ‘lead the way and show visitors that they do not need to use a plastic straw’. We already have several tenants on board – either eliminating the use of straws or considering alternatives such as paper, bamboo, or metal straws – and we have no doubt the trend will raise awareness and more and more businesses and members of the public will get involved in helping to reduce the high levels of plastic in our oceans.”
According to strawlessocean.org, over 500 million plastic straws are used daily in the USA alone, with most ending up in the oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life. “If we don’t act now, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.”