Sunday, 20 October 2019

War on plastic leaves manufacturers clutching at straws

For decades, plastic straws have been essential props for cocktail makers, smoothie lovers and fast food addicts.

But that may be starting to change, thanks largely to vigorous environmental campaigning.

Under pressure from activists, the European Union, Britain, India and even fast food giants like McDonald’s have all made some headway towards bringing the use of plastic straws to an end.

And with public pressure growing on governments, particularly in Europe, to ban single use plastics, manufacturers are feeling the heat.

According to peer-reviewed US journal Science magazine, eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the Earth’s oceans and seas each year – 250 kilogrammes (550 pounds) every second.

For years, the focus of environmentalists has been on plastic bags. But plastic straws have now come into the spotlight, thanks in part to images that have gone viral on the internet.

One online video about the danger posed by seemingly innocuous straws shows a sea turtle rescued off Costa Rica getting one removed from its nostril.

The British government in April said it planned to ban the sale of single-use plastics including straws.

The European Union followed suit in late May.

In India’s commercial capital Mumbai, Burger King, McDonald’s and Starbucks were fined for violating a ban on single use plastics, an official said earlier in June.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to make his country free of single use plastic by 2022.

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