Tuesday, October 19

Association backs plastic straws ban

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SMC to ban plastic straws from Jan 1, 2020.

SIBU: Sibu Coffee Shop & Restaurant Owners Association is all for the ban of single-use plastic straws imposed by Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) from Jan 1 next year.

“The ban on plastic straws is also included in the licensing conditions for coffee shops,” said its chairman Tong Ing Kok yesterday.

Tong revealed the association is helping to increase awareness on love for the environment.

“We are printing a few thousand ‘say no to plastic straw’ banners to be given free to about 300 members and non-members. There are between 700 and 800 coffee shops in Sibu,” he added.

SMC Public Health, Environment and Municipal Services Standing Committee chairperson Rhoda Ting stated there will be no more excuse for coffee shop operators to provide plastic straws from Jan 1 as the council has been carrying out awareness programmes since April.

Ting cautioned that failure to adhere to the ban would result in the confiscation of the straws and compound issued to the operator.

“If operators provide paper straws, council enforcement will not do anything. Additionally, if the operator wants to impose some charges for providing paper straws, the council also has no law against it,” she said when asked if coffee shops could impose minimal charge on paper straws if requested by customers.

“I am very positive that SMC will be able to control the use of plastic straws because it is in the licensing conditions,” she added.

Recently, Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister Datu Dr Penguang Manggil encouraged local councils in the state to emulate SMC by banning single use plastic straws which take up to 200 years to disintegrate to reduce plastic waste and conserve the environment.

An international study published in January this year estimated that 8.3 billion plastic straws are polluting the world’s beaches.

In Malaysia alone, studies have shown that about 30 million straws are used per day.