There is a possibility that plastic drink stirrers, plastic stemmed cotton buds, as well as plastic straws, may soon be banned within just a year as a government’s measure to curb pollution in Britain, according to Michael Gove, Environment Secretary. The government expects to launch this plan between October 2019-2020.
The launch of the consultation on Monday that is applicable just to England will cite exemptions to ensure that those who require plastic to meet their medical needs or accessibility problems do not get affected. Under the government’s plan, all the pharmacies would be allowed to continue selling plastic straws while pubs, bars, and restaurants could still stock these items only on request. Until now, there has been a drop of up to 86 percent in the use of plastic bags in significant supermarkets since the time a charge of 5p was implemented on single-use plastic bags.
On an estimate, 4.7bn straws, 316m stirrers made of plastic as well as 1.8bn cotton buds are being used every year in England. Around 10 percent of people flush cotton buds which eventually may end up in the oceans and waterways, resulting in millions being spent for cleanup. The government now plans to forbid distribution as well as the sale of such items as an effort to pressurize businesses to seek non-plastic substitutes which are available readily.
Meanwhile, several pubs as well as takeaway food chains, which include McDonald’s, have now introduced bans on the use of straws made of plastic. Moreover, most of the supermarkets have also banned plastic stemmed cotton buds and offer paper alternatives. On an estimate, over 150m tonnes of plastic waste float in the oceans worldwide, with the figure expected to increase tremendously by the year 2025. Also, around 100,000 sea creatures and one million birds die each year due to getting tangled in such waste or from eating it.