Say no to 'single use' plastic straws on Sydney's Northern Beaches
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Plastic straws are an unnecessary, single-use convenience item. Being light weight, they often end up in our oceans, where they have a severe impact on the environment and sea-life. In 2015 in Costa Rica, a team of scientists removed a plastic straw from an endangered sea turtle’s nostril, which was blocking its airway (https://youtu.be/d2J2qdOrW44 Closer to home, a local scuba diver found 319 straws during a 20 minute snorkel at Manly. The following day, she returned to the same spot and found a further 294 straws (http://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/straws-why-they-seriously-suck/ Plastic straws are used for just a few minutes and once disposed of, do not biodegrade but rather break up into smaller pieces. These small pieces will be around forever.
We request that Northern Beaches Council start a transition away from plastic straws, with a view to ban their use by 2020. A similar action is currently being taken in France with plastic cutlery (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/france-bans-plastic-plates-cups-and-cutlery/news-story/1de4024a9dc4d838008bfdb1425b3931 In contrast to the movement in France, we do not believe biodegradable plastic is the solution, as this can lead to the misapprehension that this material can be ‘safely littered’.
There are a number of venues on the Northern Beaches, already taking some positive steps in regards to straw use. ‘Hemingways Manly’ only offers stainless steel straws for dine in customers and paper straws on request for takeaway orders.
Phase one: reducing straw use - cafes, restaurants and bars on Sydney's Northern Beaches would not automatically provide plastic straws to patrons and would encourage patrons to refuse to use plastic straws.
Phase two: these venues would assess the best alternative straw for their business. Metal, bamboo or paper straws could be provided. Through this behavioral change and gradual transition, we can start fixing the problem that has been created.
In addition to carrying out this action on the Northern Beaches, we request that the Administrator write to the State government to request similar policy enactment statewide.
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