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Campaigners in one of the most iconic beach cities in the world say its decision to ban plastic cutlery and straws should be an inspiration to communities everywhere.

The city of Malibu in California voted unanimously to impose the ban from 1 June, forcing businesses in the city to provide straws, knives, forks, spoons and stirrers made of alternatives to plastic, including wood, bamboo and paper.

A playground for the rich and famous, famed for its 21 miles of scenic Pacific Ocean coastline, Malibu has become one of the first communities to take the step.

It is unlikely to be the last.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has hinted the UK could put a similar ban in place in the near future.

And it was the decision of Buckingham Palace to ban plastic straws in February that inspired campaigners in Malibu to push for action.

Image:It is estimated that 500 million plastic straws are produced every day in the US alone

Sheila Morovati was on the beach with her family when she was struck by the number of waste straws washing up on the sands.

It is estimated that 500 million plastic straws are produced every day in the US alone.

As with Sky's Ocean Rescue, she says, the message is that all of us can make a difference in avoiding single-use plastics. She said: "Your actions make a difference.

"Next time you go out, refuse that straw, refuse that piece of plastic that you don't really need. Just that action multiplied by the billions of people that are on this planet, imagine what impact that would have."

Malibu had already banned plastic bags and Styrofoam containers as part of its strategy to eliminate all single-use plastics. The next target is plastic cup lids.

Wales is considering a bottle deposit return scheme. Pic: Sian Sykes
Image:Straws and cutlery are the fifth and sixth most collected items along the California coast

During the annual California coastal clean-up campaigns, straws and cutlery are the fifth and sixth most collected items.

City councillor Laura Zahn Rosenthal told Sky News: "For those who study the waters in the oceans, they find millions of plastic straws and, as we know, plastics are forever, they never go away and are found in more and more marine life.

"On the city council and the people who live here, we take it very seriously our role and our responsibility as stewards of the environment."

Environment Secretary Michael Gove says he's considering a ban on plastic straws
Image:Environment Secretary Michael Gove says he's considering a ban on plastic straws

The change in Malibu has prompted some grumbling from restaurant and cafe owners who say the quality of alternatives is lower and the cost higher.

But Bill Miller, who has run the Malibu Kitchen for 19 years, said: "This is such a beautiful community and when they make the case that these things last in the ocean forever, it makes it hard to carry on about 'how can we possibly live without a straw'. We'll live, we'll find a way."

More from Sky Ocean Rescue

Two other California cities, Manhattan Beach and Santa Cruz, have banned disposable plastics and Seattle will put a ban on plastic straws into effect in July.

:: Sky's Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com

Original Article

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