Britain announces ban on plastic drinking straws, drinks stirrers

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LONDON: Plans to ban the distribution and sale of plastic drinking straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds were laid out yesterday by the British government. Environment Secretary Michael Gove launched a public consultation on the new measures to help protect rivers and seas.

Figures show that in England 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used every year. And around 10 percent of cotton buds are flushed down toilets and can end up in waterways and oceans.

“Even though non-plastic alternatives are readily available, these single-use plastic items are used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down,” said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The aim is to introduce a government ban to come into force at some point between October 2019 and October 2020. —Agencies

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