Swiss city hits hurdle in bid to ban plastic straws
Authorities in Neuchâtel caused a minor sensation in May when they announced plans to make the city the first in Switzerland to ban plastic straws.
But the proposed ban, which comes in the context of similar environmentally-minded initiatives around the world, has hit a legal roadblock.
On Tuesday, regional deputy Laurent Favre told the Neuchâtel cantonal parliament that such a ban would not be possible until Swiss federal authorities worked up the necessary legislation – something they have been unwilling to do to date.
Neuchâtel city council admitted it may have moved too fast in announcing the ban for the start of next year but said it would continue to push for an end to the use of plastic straws.
“It is always possible to hide between legalities when you are a public body,” local councillor Violaine Blétry de Montmollin was quoted as saying by national broadcaster RTS.
“But there comes a moment when one has to demonstrate enthusiasm and political will on an issue,” she said, stressing Neuchâtel would keep pushing for a ban.
Meanwhile, the head of the city’s hospitality federation GastroNeuchâtel, Karen Allemann, said her organisation would continue to run a public awareness campaign launched recently to tell people about the ban.
She also noted the campaign had been well received by people in the city.
A number of cities and countries around the world are currently studying bans on plastic straws, part of wider discussion about the use of plastic including single-use plastic bags.
Two of Switzerland’s biggest supermarkets introduced a small charge for single-use plastic bags in 2016 after the national parliament refused to back a full ban. The use of such bags in the country decreased sharply as a result.
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