SIBU: Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) will not back down from its “no plastic straw” policy despite requests from the public, especially when the movement control order (MCO) was enforced on March 18.

Its deputy chairperson for public health Jenny Ting said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the public requested for the reinstatement of plastic straws for health reasons.

“When the MCO was enforced, there was a lot of “hoo-haa” saying that we should go back to using plastic straws.

“From SMC’s view point, we are firm about continuing the policy as it is one of our efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19,” she said.

Ting said if the public members feel that a particular coffeeshop is not clean, they should avoid going there.

She added that since the council introduced the policy in January this year, it had brought tremendous benefit in the conservation of the environment.

“Due to the wide usage of plastic straws, we have decided to stop it and replace it with paper straws at all eateries in January. We can see that our policy has a positive effect on the environment and we will continue with it,” she said.

The council, she said, made it mandatory for eateries to not give out plastic straws as those caught will either have their business licence cancelled or revoked.

She also advised the public to bring their own straws — either paper or stainless steel ones — if eateries do not provide them.

Meanwhile, assistant enforcement officer Hamzah Matsukar Abdul Ghani said based on its monitoring, operators were complying with the policy.

He said this was proven by the paper straws disposed in their rubbish bins.

“This shows that operators are aware that plastic straws are prohibited under the council’s policy,” he said.