OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Ocean City is asking visitors to stop using plastic straws this summer in an effort to protect beaches and cut down on pollution.

Ocean City businesses are joining the pledge to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and one way you may notice a difference is when you order a drink.

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“I’m behind it 110 percent. It’s keeping the birds safer, the streets safer,” visitor Jackie Rosario said.

The Surfrider Foundation is leading the “Strawless Summer” campaign to cut down on the plastic pollution in the ocean and on beaches, which can cause serious harm to wildlife.

“There were two seabirds and a pelican that I happen to walk upon and I looked down and they had already died and were decomposing and inside their bellies there were pieces of plastic,” Surfrider Foundation volunteer Liz Lee said.

Cities across America have already joined the movement, now Ocean City is doing its part to protect the environment.

“Go online and make a pledge, to pledge not to use plastic straws,” Lee said.

The foundation is working with restaurants to promote the initiative.

“If we get rid of straws and they are upon request only, it also saves you money. I mean, food paper and labor in the restaurant business is 50 percent of their cost, so this saves them money and helps the environment,” Ocean City Councilman Tony Deluca said.

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It’s a movement restaurants such as Dry 85 OC and Red Red Wine Bar fully support.

“Kind of allows us to be ambassadors for the program, so we take a glass to the table, and if it doesn’t have a straw in it, and someone asks for one, it gives us the opportunity to explain why we are not using straws and why it’s important to forgo the straw this time,” Red Red Wine Bar owner Lisa Bolter said.

It’s a sustainable practice that will preserve the iconic coastal town.

“Straws really are not necessary because I’m going to drink my kicking mule with or without the straw,” Rosario said.

It’s a campaign worth raising a (strawless) glass to.

Researchers say that if we continue at the pollution rate that we are going, we may have more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

Click here to sign the pledge for a strawless summer in Ocean City.

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