When several marine experts were surveyed on what they considered to be the most prevalent forms of maritime pollution, they cited "fishing-related gear, balloons, and plastic bags," while other experts are worried about the problems posed by plastic bottles. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch comprises 46 percent fishing nets. Lost or abandoned crab posts catch and kill over 1.25 million blue crabs every year. We keep pulling half-eaten balloons out of the throats of birds and fish. The number of plastic bottles we use annually has spiked by 300 billion in the last decade. These are all very real problems with very real facts to back them up, but efforts to mark commercial fishing gear so that it can be traced back to its owner if it gets lost have stalled, we keep hosting mass balloon releases, and only ten states have container deposit laws (which can be attributed to the lobbying efforts of Big Beverage Container).
The reality of the situation is that straws just aren't the biggest problem we have. Even if the worst estimate of the environmental damage done by straws is true -- that our coastlines are covered in 8.3 billion of the tiny bastards -- that only accounts for 0.03 percent of the more than eight million tons of plastic garbage that enters the oceans every year. It's also incredibly disturbing that this campaign fails to account for the fact that plastic straws provide a simple, accessible means for many disabled people to drink (such as those who use wheelchairs or live with muscular disorders), and that asking them to remember their own straws (or risk not being able to drink at all), or deal with straws made of unsuitable materials such as metal or paper seems ... assholish, to say the least.