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Malibu City Council outlaws plastic cutlery and straws

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It’s the last straw for the California beachside city of Malibu.

The City Council unanimously voted to ban all plastic cutlery and straws, citing concerns over keeping its famous beaches clean and protecting the environment.

Plastic cutlery and straws are common forms of marine debris.

The move builds on the city’s previous bans of plastic bags and Styrofoam, and is part of an overall strategy to eliminate all single-use plastic items in Malibu, which has 21 miles of picturesque coast and is known as a haven for celebrities.

“It’s the right thing to do,” City Council member Laura Rosenthal said. “If people could see all the plastics that we find on a daily basis, I think everyone would be supportive of this ban.”

A social media campaign using the hashtag #STOPSUCKING and a documentary called “Straws” recently have been drawing attention to the damage even a tiny piece of plastic can do, such as getting embedded into the nostrils of sea turtles.

Instead of plastic utensils, straws and stirrers, Malibu businesses will have to provide items that are made from paper, wood or bamboo.

The city is providing one box of paper straws to businesses to help with the transition before the ban takes effect June 1.

Malibu is among the first cities to take such an aggressive move against plastic.

Manhattan Beach, just outside Los Angeles, and Central California’s Santa Cruz have banned all disposable plastics. A ban in Seattle on plastic straws and utensils takes effect in July. Other cities are considering their own bans and restaurants across the nation have individually made the switch.

Sheila Morovati, a Pacific Palisades resident and local activist who fought for the Malibu ban, said she’s now setting her sites on Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and then beyond California.

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