12-Year-Old Orange County Girl Battling Plastic Straws - NBC Southern California
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12-Year-Old Orange County Girl Battling Plastic Straws

Chloe Mei asked her own school district to skip the plastic straws in their cafeterias.

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    Orange County Girl Fighting to Skip the Plastic Straw

    A 12-year-old in Orange County is working to save ocean life by working to eliminate single-use straws. Vikki Vargas reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 9, 2018. (Published Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018)

    There is a 12-year-old who truly worries about the future of the sea, one she often views from below the surface.

    "I love going scuba diving," Chloe Mei Espinosa says. "I love seeing the ocean clean, and in the future, I want kids to see that the ocean is clean, and I want them to see the marine animals that I see healthy."

    Chloe Mei has taken her concerns and launched skipthepasticstraw.com to help combat an issue near and dear to her heart, and she speaks with conviction and connects with her audience far beyond what would be expected of a 12-year-old girl.

    "Marine life mistakes the straws for food, causing them to suffocate, injure or die," Chloe Mei tells a class of campers at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

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    Visuals of a sea-turtle with a straw entirely embedded in its nostril make campers gasp in horror.

    This Orange County middle schooler is asking everyone she meets to skip the plastic straw and find another way to drink. Her website, skiptheplasticstraw.com goes one step further and asks anyone who accepts her challenge to go one step further and connect with a local restaurant.

    When she speaks to a class, it's easy to see her message is getting through, but Chloe Mei didn't stop there.

    Chloe Mei asked her own school district to skip the plastic straws in their cafeterias.

    "We apparently go through 10,000 (straws) per day," says Annette Franco of the Newport Mesa Unified School District. 

    The Newport Unified School District will remove plastic straws from every one of its 32 campuses by January.

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    "We're hoping that our whole school community can think about it when they're out in public, necessarily at our schools and maybe think a little bit more about what they're doing," Franco says about the change.

    Corona Del Mar Middle School, where Chloe Mei attends school, stopped using plastic straws on the first day of class. Other students are aware that soon only paper straws will be available thanks to one young girl and her passion.

    "I do think what I'm doing is connecting with people because they start to notice how plastic straws are really bad," Chloe Mei says.

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