THE Government has confirmed a ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds in England in an attempt to seriously reduce plastic waste. But is the ban far-reaching enough?
Environment Secretary Michael Gove confirmed the news last week, following overwhelming public support for a ban. It is hoped that the ban will help soften the impact that nearly 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds have been having every year on our fragile environment. A ban on the supply of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds will come into effect in England in April 2020. The ban will include exceptions so that those with medical needs or a disability are still able to continue to access plastic straws.
According to the Government, restaurants, pubs and bars will not be able to display plastic straws or automatically give them out to customers, but they will be able to provide them on request (for example, for those with medical conditions).
Mr Gove said: “Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment. These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life.
“So today I am taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution, and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations.”But does Gove’s ban go far enough? Environmental organisation Friends of the Earth don’t think so. They have called on Mr Gove “to introduce legislation covering all unnecessary plastics”, not just plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.
According to Emma Priestland, plastics campaigner at Friends of the Earth, these three items are “just a fraction of the single-use plastic nasties” used for a short amount of time that end up polluting the natural environment. The environmental group are campaigning for legislation to go much further: “We’re campaigning for legislation to cut back on pointless plastic across the board.”
The Government has confirmed a ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds in England, but do you think this ban goes far enough?