Plastic straw ban 'just a drop in a very plastic polluted ocean'
Plastic pollution campaign group City to Sea has today called the UK Government ban on plastic straws, cotton buds, and drink stirrers from 1 October 2020 “just a drop in a very plastic polluted ocean” and urged the government to scale up its plans.
Plastic straws featured on The Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) list of items to be eliminated by 2020, alongside seven other problematic or unnecessary plastic items the UK Plastics Pact seeks to abolish.
The plastic straw ban was originally intended to be introduced in April but it was delayed to 1 October due to Covid-19.
The ban has been two years in the making, with a consultation starting in October 2018 and then it being confirmed by Michael Gove in May 2019. The draft legislation was then put in place last October.
Campaign groups like City to Sea are putting increasing pressure onto the government to take more drastic measures against plastic, following alarming studies being released about the increasingly damaging impact it is having on the natural world.
One study found that ocean plastic could triple by 2040 if huge changes are not put in place, with the possibility of the plastic entering the ocean annually increasing from 11 million metric tonnes to 29 million tonnes within 20 years.
City to Sea’s CEO, Rebecca Burgess commented, “In 2016 we campaigned successfully to get every major retailer to stop selling plastic cotton buds saving 478 tonnes of plastic a year and last year we saw food giants like McDonald's already move away from plastic straws.
“This is just playing catch up and not leading in implementing the EU’s Single-Use Directive – something other countries are doing with much greater ambition.
“It's time government sucked it up and came clean with the public – these measures are a drop in a plastic polluted ocean, and they need to quickly scale up their plans as a matter of urgency”
She continued, “If the government is serious about tackling plastic pollution there is a series of measures already drafted in the Phase-Out of Plastic Pollution Bill that they could co-opt into the Environment Bill with cross-party support.”