The ban on the supply of plastic straws, plastic stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs came into effect in England on Oct. 1, as part of an ongoing campaign to protect the environment, clean up the oceans, and protect marine wildlife, the government said.
It comes just a month after the government further discouraged single-use plastic carrier bags by increasing the charge from 5 to 10 pence (13 cents), and making the charge mandatory for all retailers from April 2021.
The ban was announced in May last year in a move to drive down the consumption of single-use plastic, and ultimately eliminate avoidable plastic waste completely as part of the governments 25-year environmental plan.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said the UK was a “world-leader” in the fight against single-use plastics, citing the 2018 ban on microbeads, the tiny pieces of plastic often added to toiletry products, and the carrier bag measures, which have “cut sales by 95 percent in the main supermarkets.”
According to research by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, 1.8 billion cotton buds, 202 million plastic stirrers, and 4.7 billion plastic straws are used each year in England.
Laura Foster, head of Clean Seas at the Marine Conservation Society, said Thursdays ban was “fantastic news.”
She added that due to companies already making the “switch away from plastic,” Englands annual Great British Beach Clean had shown that plastic-stemmed cotton bud litter has fallen from 31 buds found per 100 meters (109 yards) of beach in 2017 to eight in 2019.
The government described the ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds as a “major step” in the fight against plastic waste.
Michael Shellenberger, a life-long champion of the natural world, however, said plastic straws were only a very small part of the plastic waste problem.
In his book “Apocalypse Never” published earlier this year, he said that “when you consider that just 0.03 percent of the 9 million tons of plastic that ends up in oceans every year is composed of straws, banning them seems like a profoundly small thing, indeed.”
The government said that despite the ban on plastic straws, disabled people and those with medical conditions can still request one when visiting a pub or restaurant and that they will be able to buy them from pharmacies.
Several major fast-food and restaurant chains had already significantly reduced or stopped using plastic straws before the ban came into effect.
Other environmental measures the governmeRead More – Source
Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh receive Covid-19 vaccine
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh have received their Covid-19 vaccinations, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Saturday.
Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger
Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.
The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.
“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”
It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.
Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.
The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.
Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.
On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.
Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections
People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.
The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.
He’s focussing on security and education.
Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.
“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.
Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.
Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.
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