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Ban on plastic straws disadvantages disabled people, says Paralympian

Ban on plastic straws disadvantages disabled people, says Paralympian

A recent move by businesses to stop using plastic straws in a bid to be more eco-friendly has caused some concern in parts of the disabled community.

Plastic straws are vital for some disabled people to be able to drink independently when visiting cafes, bars and restaurants. “I’ve got lots of friends who have to have a straw to drink,” 16 time Paralympic medalist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson told The BBC.

Grey-Thompson explained that “it could be tens of thousands of people affected by this in a very negative way,” adding that disabled people could be “seriously disadvantaged if we can’t find a proper alternative.” Paper or glass alternatives are sometimes available, however these are not always suitable or safe, said Grey Thompson.

Last month the UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove suggested plastic straws could be banned altogether, whilst a recent major report claims that the amount of plastic in the ocean could treble in a decade unless litter was curbed, highlighting the urgent need for sustainable, suitable and safe alternatives to plastic straws if disabled people are to continue to live independently.

Do you, or anyone you know use straws when visiting cafes, bars or restaurants? Join the conversation in the comments below, or get in touch over on our Twitter.

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