The government confirmed that as of 2020, the plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds would be officially banned in England, with a few exceptions.
The environment officials confirmed the details from a study conducted during 2018, and the results are more than worrying. According to the survey, around 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers, and over 1.8 billion cotton buds are used every year. Not only is it an enormous waste, but the citizens are more than often throwing those cotton buds in the toilet, causing even more significant damage.
The UK government made this announcement, and it is stated that there will be a few exceptions to the rule. For instance, food and drink outlets will not be allowed to have these products on display, nor to provide them to the customers. However, the exception rule applies to the facilities or citizens that have a medical reason to use them. If someone has a medical reason or a disability and is in urgent need of these products, they will have the opportunity to buy them at registered pharmacies.
Michael Gove, a Secretary of State for Environment, stated this was a momentous decision made by authorities, with one goal only — to tackle growing plastic pollution and protect our environment.
He also added that he hopes that people would be able to understand that these products are used very briefly, but their decomposition can take up to hundred years, and at the moment that waste is severely harming our oceans and precious marine life.
This is precisely why he put up his mind to turn the tide on plastic pollution and ensure that the future generations have a better world to live in.
Very shortly after the announcement, more than 80% of respondents supported the ban of the distribution of plastic straws, and over 90% of distributors supported this ban of cotton buds.
Gove stated that he is looking forward to millions of pounds to be saved every year and that with the smart use of that annual income, they can boost their clean-up efforts of used plastics.
Around 150 million tonnes can be found in the world’s oceans annually, and this plastic waste is causing the death of over a million birds and 100,000 mammals every year.
Sky Ocean Rescue organizes eco-friendly campaigns regularly, in which they try to encourage people to cut the usage of plastic from their everyday life.
The chief executive of Sky Ocean Rescue stated that the disease of overuse of plastic products is what we brought to ourselves. He added that it is good that we are working hard to reduce the damage, and that he is fully supporting Michael Gove and his decision.
Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, also supported this decision and stated that such sudden interdiction on the production of these plastic products could have a positive effect on the already excessive pollution that can be found on our beaches nationwide.
He added that this is a very bold step toward a better future and that he hopes that these measures may initiate the distribution of other plastic-free alternatives. Making more sustainable choices is what could save our nature for future generations.
Lauren West, from Muscular Dystrophy, stated that plastic straws are more than often a necessary tool for the disabled, due to its flexibility. She hopes that these products will be used only when needed and that she is glad that the government recognized the difference between the necessary use and a complete waste that is hurting our planet.