Plastic peril was last straw for Sophia and Alex

Sophia and Alex Dumighan asked their school to stop using plastic straws. Picture courtesy of Durrington Infant and Junior School
Sophia and Alex Dumighan asked their school to stop using plastic straws. Picture courtesy of Durrington Infant and Junior School

A heartfelt letter from a brother and sister has prompted their school to stop using plastic straws.

Sophia Dumighan, 10, and her seven-year-old brother Alex, were so upset after seeing news reports about the dangers of plastics to marine life that they knew they had to do something to help.

Sophia and Alex designed this poster

Sophia and Alex designed this poster

The pair wrote to Sara Ensor and Zoe Wilby, co-headteachers at Durrington Infant and Junior School, to tell them about a video they had seen, which showed a turtle with a straw stuck in its nose.

They said: “The video really upset us and we have decided to stop using plastic straws altogether.

“Did you know that any sea creature that swallows plastic straws has only a 50/50 survival chance as the straws either block their breathing passage or their food tube so they can’t eat or the sea creature can get an infection and die.”

Appealing to the heads to ban the straws from school, they added: “During learning and science experiments we would like the school to only use paper straws.

Sophia and Alex Dumighan asked their school to stop using plastic straws. Picture courtesy of Durrington Infant and Junior School

Sophia and Alex Dumighan asked their school to stop using plastic straws. Picture courtesy of Durrington Infant and Junior School

“We would also like school milk to come in large pouring cartons and served in cups and not in small cartons with straws (like at breakfast and after school club).”

They even designed posters calling for ‘No more plastic straws’, which were put up around the school, in Salvington Road, to encourage other pupils to make the change.

Mrs Ensor and Mrs Wilby contacted the milk supplier and, within two weeks, the order for more than 100 individual cartons and straws per day had been changed to large, recyclable bottles - and each child was given their own reusable beaker.

Sophia and Alex were delighted with the changes.

Sophia said: “ It’s made a big difference. I feel happy that animals will have less plastic in the sea. I feel proud of what has happened and very thankful to Mrs Ensor and Mrs Wilby.”

Alex added: “I feel really good. I want to get rid of all the plastic in the sea.”

Mrs Ensor and Mrs Wilby added: “We are always keen to promote the children’s interest in nature. The story of the sea turtles and the plastic straws gripped the children, and created an opportunity to raise their awareness about the environment.

“We are very proud that the children showed their initiative and were enthusiastic to make a contribution towards improving the problem.”