Drink from the cup or go belly up! That's the message the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation aims to get across after teaming up with more than 830 local restaurants and schools to launch a "no straw" campaign.
Twenty major chains, including Cafe de Coral Group, Tai Hing Catering Group, KFC and Yoshinoya, are among the restaurants taking part.
Participating outlets will not provide straws to their customers or students, unless being requested, on selected days every month. It would either be the eighth day of every month, every Friday, or for the most devoted participants, every day of the year.
The announcement was made on World Environment Day yesterday, with the theme for this year being "Beat Plastic Pollution."
"It's encouraging to see more and more corporations joining us to drive this positive change. Abandoning plastic straws may seem to be a small action, but it is the first step to make a difference in consumer behavior, and will eventually lead us to a more sustainable future," Judy Chen Qing, the foundation's chairwoman, said yesterday.
The annual consumption of plastic straws in Hong Kong is projected to fall by 2.6 million this year in comparison to last year. Even so, Hong Kong residents still use 1.44 billion plastic straws annually.
The foundation organized a "No Straw Day" last year. To expand the movement and further encourage a reduction in the use of disposable straws and other plastics in Hong Kong, the "no straw campaign" has officially been launched.
The foundation has created an interactive "No Straw Map" that indicates all partnering restaurants participating in the campaign.
The map can be found here: http://nostrawmap.opcf.org.hk/en
Starting this year, all restaurants in Ocean Park stopped supplying plastic straws. Only paper straws are provided upon request.
Separately, the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, the owner and operator of The Peninsula Hotels, will ban plastic straws by November 1 this year in its operations around the world.
In Hong Kong, plastic debris poses a serious threat to the marine environment, according to WWF Hong Kong.
The green group and Covestro have teamed up to launch "The Story of Ocean Plastic" education pack, which is used to teach school students about marine litter. It also helps teachers integrate the topic into the school's daily curriculum, and offers storybooks and worksheets for students. The materials are available on WWF Hong Kong's website.