Sep 17, 2020 08:01 AM EDT
South Australia has just banned single-use plastics such as stirrers, straws, and utensils. These plastics pollute our environment, especially the seas and oceans, where they eventually end up.
South Australia has just banned single-use plastics such as stirrers, straws, and utensils. These plastics pollute our environment, especially the seas and oceans where they eventually end up.
The government of South Australia made history by being the first state in Australia to ban single-use plastics. Australians are happy about this new law, although there are some conditions.
The ABC or Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported the signing of the historical law in the second week of this month. South Australian State Parliament passed legislation that prohibited selling, supplying, distributing, and using such products.
These single-use plastic materials include many varieties, such as plastic spoons, knives, forks, beverage stirrers, and straws.
However, it will not be in effect before the year 2021; the delay in implementation is attributed to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Exceptions and Criticisms
Following the bans on plastic straws in other jurisdictions, this current ban will naturally exempt people with disabilities or other medical conditions that necessitate their use of plastic straws.
Certain environmental groups criticize the ban on single-use plastics, saying that the move is too insignificant to make a difference.
However, evidence exists, proving that it has a real impact. This is because Australians use approximately ten million plastic straws each day. Thus, if one of the six Australian states bans them, it could already be a significant reduction in plastic straws.
Furthermore, this ban is just the beginning of banning all other types of single-use plastic. It may also be able to inspire other states to follow South Australia’s example and legislate similar bans. Indeed, South Australia is planning to ban other single-use plastic wares once this pioneering ban is proven to be effective.
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According to David Speirs, minister of South Australia State Environment & Water, they first want to focus on “low-hanging fruit,” such as drink stirrers, straws, cutlery, and the like; afterward, next year, they will tackle containers for takeaway. After that, the coffee cups and vegetable and fruit barrier bags will be next.
Finally, Speirs says that the region will become free from single-use plastics in the next two years.
The new law also includes many more plastic items to be banned in the future. These include cotton swabs, balloon ties and sticks, single-use plates, lids and cups, food containers, bags, and balloon sticks and ties.
Considerations Instead of the Pandemic
The government plans to implement the law next year when the pressure felt by restaurants and businesses due to the pandemic is gone. For now, the businesses are fighting for their survival, and adding this ban might be too much.
Nonetheless, reusable utensils and containers are considered 100% safe against COVID-19 transmission, as long as necessary hygiene measures are employed. This is the statement of over a hundred experts on health.
The experts said that the COVID-19 virus could easily be transmitted on single-use, brand new dishes as reusable ones. Proper washing is enough to guarantee safety.
With enough political will, South Australia may be a success story in the fight against plastic straws and other single-use plastics.
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