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Disabled campaigners fear plastic straw ban

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MSP's bid to ban plastic straws could have grave consequences for disabled people

A disability group is campaigning against attempts to ban plastic straws.

In a bid to cut pollution MSP Kate Forbes is proposing a ban of plastic straws with her Final Straw campaign.

But Edinburgh-based One in Five group says paper, plant-based and metal alternatives to straws could prove dangerous to disabled people, especially those who are highly dependent on support.

The group wants the campaign to have disability advice in place for companies looking to replace plastic.

One in Five has written to the MSP saying: "We believe organisations are racing ahead to source alternative straws in response to understandable environmental concerns but in doing so have not fully considered the needs of some disabled people."

Founder Jamie Szymkowiak said: "Businesses are understandably responding to environmental concerns but in reacting so quickly the needs of their disabled customers risks becoming an afterthought.

“We ask that businesses consider the needs of disabled people before ditching plastic straws completely."

Szymkowiak asks in the letter that the "campaign pauses until it is in a position to offer the advice and support companies are looking for."

Forbes said: "I recognise there are some people who need to use a straw and indeed I have a family member with a disability and therefore I understand the concerns of One in Five on a first-hand basis.

"No change to the law or business practices should put greater burdens on people with disabilities or those who need to use a straw. That's why I have offered to meet with representatives of One in Five again today.

"As recently as last week in the Scottish Parliament, I made clear that alternatives to plastic straws must be readily and easily available."