Plastic straws ‘to be banned in Malta by summer’

Plastic drinking straws could be banned in Malta as early as this summer, in a bid to clean up our seas and beaches.

Bars, pubs and restaurants would be forced to use environmentally friendly alternatives such as paper.

The EU announced the move after research showed an astonishing 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away every year.

According to the campaign group Refuse The Straw, some plastic straws take around 200 years to break down.

The vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said the EU was working on new rules to outlaw plastic straws across Europe, including Malta.

He said the EU plans to ensure all plastic is recyclable or reusable by 2030.

Mr Timmermans said: ‘If our children knew what the effects are of using single-use plastic straws for drinking sodas, or whatever, they might reconsider and use paper straws or no straws at all.

‘We are going to choke on plastic if we don’t do anything about this. How many millions of straws do we use every day across Europe?

‘I would have people not use plastic straws any more.

‘It only took me once to explain to my children. And now they go looking for paper straws or don’t use straws at all.’

If current levels of pollution continue, there will be more plastic than fish in the seas by 2050, according to statistics from the United Nations.

Some high-profile companies have started to phase them out, with the likes of JD Wetherspoon, Wagamama, Costa Coffee, Pizza Express and Waitrose taking steps to stop using.

The Queen has also banned plastic straws from Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Holyrood Palace.

89.7 Bay launched its Making Malta Green and Clean environmental awareness campaign in Malta and Gozo last month.

Read more: Making Malta Green and Clean

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