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New York City to consider ban on plastic straws

In this March 8, 2013 file photo, two employees of Frames Bowling Lounge in New York pose with beverages in glasses with plastic drinking straws. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Plastic straws and stirrers could soon be banned in bars, restaurants and coffee shops in New York City.

Democratic City Councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a bill on Wednesday, saying restaurants should replace plastic with paper or metal straws.

Exceptions would be made for people with disabilities or medical conditions. The penalty would be a $100 fine.

The move comes as cities and nations begin to tackle the growing problem of plastic pollution.

Espinal says 500 million plastic straws are discarded each day in the U.S. and up to 12 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year.

Malibu, California, is banning all plastic cutlery and straws. Seattle and Miami Beach also have enacted bans on plastic straws.

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