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AKIPRESS.COM - California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday making the state the first in the country to prohibit full-service restaurants from automatically providing plastic straws to their customers, Xinhua reports.
"Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences," Brown wrote in a message to the members of the California state Assembly, noting that the annual global production of plastic reached 448 million tons.
"Ocean plastic is estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year," said Brown, citing that researchers found 80 plastic bags in the stomach of a dead pilot whale that had prevented it from digesting food.
"Nor are humans immune as microplastics were recently found in tap water around the world. Plastics, in all forms - straws, battles, packaging, bags, etc. - are choking our planet," said the governor.
"It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it. And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative. But one thing is clear, we must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products," Brown added.
The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, exempts fast-food restaurants. It provides full-service restaurants with a written warning on the first two violations and a fine of 25 dollars a day for subsequent infractions, Los Angeles Times reported.
Seattle became the first major city in the country to ban plastic straws in September 2017. San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Malibu and some other California cities also joined the movement to impose restrictions on plastic straws this year.