A new petition has started up demanding the plastic cup and straw emoji to be banned as part of the battle to save the world’s oceans from drowning in plastic waste pollution.
it has been launched by Sky Ocean Rescue and the first of its kind campaign is calling on the official emoji committee (Unicode) to remove the icon from its keyboard.
If it’s successful it would see the red and white-coloured emoji vanish from smartphones and social media apps such as, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Change.org petition has already received over 1,000 signatures.
Sky said, “If this emoji is not banned soon, we might have to remove the beloved whale, fish and marine wildlife emojis as our oceans drown in plastic”.
Around 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away each year, potentially contributing to the 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans.
These alarming statistics led Theresa May to start a sweeping ban on a number of household items including straws, cotton buds, stirrers and wet wipes, that could be enforced next year following a government consultation.
The move follows rules introduced two years ago making customers pay a 5p charge for plastic bags, which drastically reduced the number of bags being used.
Theresa May marked plastic waste as “one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world” and added that the UK was taking a lead in tackling the problem.
But, according to Sky Ocean Rescue, the cup and straw emoji is contributing to the normalisation of plastic.
The Unicode Consortium – which counts Google, Facebook, and Apple execs among its board of directors – introduced the icon in 2017.