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California banned distributing straws with drinks

Horia Varlan / flickr

California Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a law under which plastic straws for drinks in restaurants can be issued only at the request of the visitor, the Associated Press reported .

Most of the plastic emitted into the environment eventually ends up in the World Ocean. There, firstly, it poses a danger to birds and marine animals (as, for example, for this turtle , which has become a symbol of the struggle with straws), and secondly, it gradually degrades to micro-plastic particles already found in tap water all over the world . 

California became the first state that imposed restrictions on the use of disposable straws in the fight against the plastic pollution of the oceans. Earlier, San Francisco and Seattle, two cities on the west coast of the USA, completely banned tubules, similar bills have already been proposed for New York and Washington . In addition, against the straws were , in particular, the network of coffee houses Starbucks and several American airlines.

California law will come into force on January 1 and will only affect full-fledged restaurants with waiters, but not fast food restaurants. Violators after two warnings will pay a fine, the maximum amount of which is limited to $ 300 per year. The agency notes that the restaurant business did not oppose the law, whose critics say that such excessive restriction on the part of the state will not have a tangible effect on the environment. Environmental organizations supported the new measure, noting that this is a small step in the right direction, since the main and most dangerous pollutants of the ocean are not straws, but, for example, abandoned fishing gear.

Simultaneously with the restriction on straws, Brown signed a law requiring that the default drink with children’s dinners in fast food and ordinary restaurants be milk or water – about sweet carbonated drinks or juice also have to be asked separately. This law, aimed at combating obesity, will also come into force from the beginning of the new year.

Another direction in the fight against plastic is packages, the use of which is increasingly prohibited and restricted: such restrictions are in different forms in 40 countries. Thus, the New Zealand government announced in early August that it intends to prohibit the use of disposable plastic bags during the year.

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