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Exemptions have been made for members of the disabled community to use petro-based single-use straws.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, said this came after much discussion on how the April 1 ban on all petro-based single-use plastics affected some members of the disabled community in doing simple tasks, such as drinking water or beverages.

Under the ban, single-use plastic cups; cutlery, including plastic knives, forks and spoons; stirrers; straws; plates; egg trays (both plastic and Styrofoam), and Styrofoam containers are prohibited.

The exemption was one of three changes contained in amendments made to the Control of Disposable Plastics Act before Parliament, last month.

Mr. Humphrey noted that representatives of the disabled community expressed concern over difficulties encountered when they tried using the reusable straws, given their challenges.

However, the amendment would now allow them to use the single-use straws to assist them in their daily activities and ensure that they are not disadvantaged.

Other changes to the Act include a reduction in the individual fine for breaking the law from $50,000 to $5,000, and provisions to allow manufacturers to apply for permission to make petro-based plastic bags, under special circumstances.


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