Plastic garbage in oceans is a genuine problem. But most of the pollution comes from Asia. A small amount does come from America, but only a tiny fraction of that is plastic straws.

Banning straws “might make some politicians feel good,” says the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Angela Logomasini in this week’s Stossel TV video, “but it won’t actually accomplish anything good.”

But what about that scary “500 million” figure that celebrities, politicians and news anchors constantly cite? It turns out that number came from a 10-year-old who, for a school project, telephoned some straw makers.

Because the boy is cute, the media put him on TV. Now the media, environmental activists, and politicians (Is there a difference?) repeat “500 million straws used daily… many end up in oceans,” as if it were just fact. The real number is much lower.