The UK government has announced a ban on the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England by 2020.

It's estimated that in people in England use 316 million plastic stirrers, 4.7 billion plastic straws and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds - around 10 per cent of which are flushed down the toilet and end up in waterways and oceans - every year.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: "Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment. These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life. So today I am taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution, and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations."

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