By Kanittha Boon/ Shutterstock

UK Bans Plastic Straws, Stirrers and Cotton Buds From 2020

by | May 25, 2019

In a bid to fight the overwhelming rise of the plastic pollution, the English government will reportedly devise a ban in the use of single-use plastics like straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers, early next year. How far the ban will be implied? Keep reading to know more.

UK Bans Plastic Straws, Stirrers and Cotton Buds From 2020
By Drawii/ Shutterstock
UK Bans Plastic Straws, Stirrers and Cotton Buds From 2020

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UK Bans Plastic Straws, Stirrers and Cotton Buds From 2020

Single-use plastic objects like a drink stirrer, cotton bud, and straws are some of the most widely used plastics. They are produced in billions, and they last for single use, making them waste in an instant. Say for instance, as much as 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used by England annually, according to reports. This undoubtedly reflects that alarming proportion that needs regulatory attention.

In order to curb the menace, the government of England has taken a much-needed step. Starting from April 2020, all the above-mentioned plastic products are supposed to be banned in the nation, with some exceptions, according to BBC. As per reports, the government has been planning to put an end to the marine-life devastating plastics for two years and now the announcement is scheduled to finally come into effect, starting April next year. Michael Gove, Environmental Secretary confirming the ban said-

“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.”

Michael Gove via bbc.com

The ban will reportedly forbid restaurants and bars to openly, or by default, offer plastic straws to the customers. Supermarkets and shops are also under the regulation. However, on a truly needful occasion, as in the case of some disability or special need, the restaurant will be able to provide one. This won’t be the case with plastic stirrers. The same will be subjected to total ban as opposed to straws and cotton buds.

What are the Exceptions?

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
UK Bans Plastic Straws, Stirrers and Cotton Buds From 2020

As mentioned above, the restrictions will be imposed on all the categorized single-use plastics, but on a certain exception to few products. For example, the plastic stirrer will be totally banned and straws will be available on need, as per official report. As of plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, they will be available but barred from general public sales. Owing to the fact, cotton buds are needed for a number of scientific researches, forensics, and other medical uses, they will be available under authorized sales.

The Bane of Plastic Pollution

Environmental activists were elated with the decision. There is no single square mile in the ocean surface on earth, that is free from plastic, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Just recently, a historic dive into the world’s deepest point in Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean found plastic pollution. In such incredible depth, (deeper than Mt. Everest submerged) the presence of plastic truly should evoke awareness. Such humongous levels of plastic in the oceans go without saying, how harmful it is to marine life.

By Vikentiy Elizarov/ Shutterstock
UK Bans Plastic Straws, Stirrers and Cotton Buds From 2020

News outlet Metro noted that the ban has been supported by 80 percent of respondents. Conservationist’s groups have welcomed the measure but have suggested even stronger steps and more recycling measures. Laura Foster from Marine Conservation Society said “(…)we now need Michael Gove to go further in moving to reduce plastic consumption overall and increase recycling rates (…).” Sam Chetan, political campaigner at Greenpeace stated“the reality is though, that these bans only scratch the surface. To really tackle the plastic crisis we need bigger bolder action from this Government (…).”

What do you think about the UK’s much-needed decision? Let me know your thoughts in comments.

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Debayan Paul

Digital Writer | West Bengal, India | [email protected]

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