Publicado: Sol, Julio 29, 2018
Ciencia | Por Aurelio Ontiveros

San Francisco May Be The Next City to Ban Plastic Straws

San Francisco May Be The Next City to Ban Plastic Straws

In short, Santa Barbara's plastic-straw ban is a measure created to make politicians and their supporters feel as if they have done something to help the planet when all they have really done is infringe on people's liberty, increase businesses' costs, and make life that much harder for the disabled. They save time (hello, throwing dishes away instead of washing them), and they decrease clutter (no need to store those cups in your cabinets).

The momentum behind the movement to ban plastic straws in cities across the country doesn't seem likely to slow any time soon, especially in California. Jail time and fines are not proposed for anyone who uses a plastic straw or provides one to a customer.

Indeed, when I reported last week that Santa Barbara's straw ban included a punishment of up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines per straw, a spokesperson for a prominent environmentalist group emailed to inform me that focusing on the penalties was "unprofessional" and "inaccurate" because they would never actually be enforced, even after a third or fourth violation.

Also included in the legislation are plastic stirrers and plastic cutlery.

Food and products made outside the City of Santa Barbara, but sold within city limits, would also be exempt from the ordinance. It piggybacks off the city's ban of plastic bags. An Assembly bill would require dine-in restaurants provide single-use plastic straws only upon request.

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The ban will eliminate more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually. In any event, there is no reason that so many drinks have to be consumed through a straw.

Assemblyman Ian Calderon says plastic straws contribute to the buildup of trash in the oceans. Santa Barbara will begin to enforce its straw ban next July, and one can only wonder whether prohibition will usher in a new era of underground straw-serving speakeasies and street corner black market straw-slingers. How many of these shortsighted folks have jumped on the bandwagon calling for bans on plastic water bottles and/or plastic straws?

While the city's new mayor, London Breed, struggles to get a handle on the city's public pooping problem, city supervisor Katy Tang described the straw ban as an example of how smug San Francisco "has been a pioneer of environmental change".

This announcement comes shortly after Starbucks and other companies announced their plans to phase out single-use plastic straws.

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