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Majlis Perbandaran Sibu

Plastic-straw ban: SMC to use Styrofoam experience as benchmark in enforcement
Tarikh : 30 Dec 2019  Sumber Berita: Borneo Post Online

SIBU: The Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) strives to ensure effective enforcement of the ban against single-use straws at all eateries under its areas of jurisdiction, by banking on its experience in implementing the same ban against the use of food containers made from Styrofoam.

For the record, the ban of single-use straws at all eateries within SMC’s jurisdiction will take effect this Jan 1 – making it the first local authority in Sarawak and Sabah to do so.

In her observation, SMC Public Health, Environment and Municipal Services Standing Committee chairwoman Rhoda Ting foresees that some eateries would still be having these straws even after the enforcement date.

“Yes, I do foresee some (eateries) still having plastic straws when serving cold drinks, for the first few days or weeks. Enforcement will be going around (but) it will take some time to get all coffeeshops to totally comply (with the regulation).

“I always like to take our experience in banning Styrofoam (food containers) as a benchmark. It took us the first few months of 2014 to begin seeing good results – during this time, the enforcement was out on the ground and the public also gave feedback regarding which coffee shops were still using Styrofoam (containers).

“With such experience, we hope to be able to make this plastic-straw ban a successful project for SMC,” she told The Borneo Post yesterday.

On alternatives, Ting suggested operators to use paper or bio-degradable straws.

During the distribution of posters on the ban against single-use plastic straws at Sibu Central Market last month, Ting warned errant operators about the RM50 compound, and the confiscation of their plastic straws, should they fail to adhere to the regulation.

Nevertheless, she also reminded them that for the first few months of next year, only warnings would be issued to those failing to comply with the ban order.

“This grace period is meant to get the operators of the eateries acclimatised, and also for them to clear their old stock (of plastic straws).

“However after the first warning, the SMC enforcement team would return to the same outlet and if they find that the operator still fails to comply (with the regulation), then the compound would be issued.

“This was the same action that we took during the implementation of the ban against the use of Styrofoam (food containers) back in 2014,” Ting was quoted as having said then, also pointing out that the errant traders could risk having their licences revoked, if they repeated the offence three times.

“The ban on plastic straws is also included in their licensing conditions – the same way as the (ban on) Styrofoam (containers),” added Ting.

An international study, published in January this year, has estimated that as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws are polluting the world’s beaches.

In Malaysia alone, studies have shown that the people are using about 30 million straws per day.

Plastic straws can take up to 200 years to disintegrate.