Alec Meeker

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Today at 11 a.m., City Councilmen Rafael Espinal stood in Battery Park with a coalition of supporters proposing legislation to, “prohibit eating and drinking establishments from offering single-use straws to customers.”

“It’s no secret that we have a plastic problem,” Councilmen Espinal says. “It is estimated that there are 13 million metric tons of plastic clogging our oceans and that 100,000 marine creatures die from plastic entanglement a year.”

The ban, if passed, would be enforced by the city departments of consumer affairs, sanitation and health. Violators could face fines starting at $100. The bill includes a two-year grace period for businesses to make the transition before any penalties would be assessed.

Supporters of the bill include, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Oceanic Global and the Sierra Club. Bushwick Daily has reached out to Espinal’s office for details on Bushwick businesses committed to support the legislation.

Across NYC at least 60 restaurants and drinking establishments have already gone straw free in partnership with, ‘Give a Sip,’ a coalition of advocates working to rid the city of single-use plastic straws. House of Yes, the Bushwick based Music and Art Space, is among the listed partners to the organization.

Regarding difficulties that the bill could pose to consumers and businesses, Councilmen Espinal provided this statement to the NY Times. “I don’t believe there are any huge obstacles,” Mr. Espinal said. “It’s not like plastic bags, where consumers felt it was important for them to carry out their groceries. A straw is not a necessity for most New Yorkers, so I think this is more of a change of thinking.”

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