City University of Hong Kong bans plastic straws on campus, but plastic containers and cutlery still being used

Both supporters and opponents of the ban posted messages on the university's ‘Democracy Wall’

Nicola Chan |

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A commenter on a Facebook page for a local university has said he will consider handing out straws to those who need them, if the university upholds its ban on plastic straws on campus.

City University (CityU) has stopped handing out plastic straws with their drinks on campus. This led to the appearance of banners on the school’s “Democracy Wall” – a public bulletin board – asking the university to “bring back the straws”.

In response to the initial banners, other notes were added that read: “Without plastic straws, can't human beings drink any more?” Another response banner said “Human beings can eat without cutlery”, and demanded “a total ban on plastic cutlery”.

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The university debate drew attention after Kengo Ip, a local journalist and radio host, shared a photo of the “Democracy Wall” on Facebook last Wednesday. On the same day, a post on the “CityU Secrets” Facebook page showed that, although straws are banned on campus, eople ordering takeaway food can still get disposable cutlery from at least one of the university’s catering outlets.

The person who wrote the post said it’s a contradiction for the school to impose a ban on plastic straws while continuing to providing plastic containers and cutlery for takeaways. The partial ban, they added, highlights that the school is not truly environmentally conscious.

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Jason Fu, who claimed to be a friend of the students that started the protest on the “Democracy Wall”, said on the post that they were not against the ban of plastic straws. “We’re just demanding that the school provides a substitute … so that we can still enjoy the convenience we used to have.”

Fu added that, while people have the right to practise what they preach, they should not impose their lifestyle and values on others, otherwise they are no different from the Taliban – a political movement and military organisation in Afghanistan.

“If the school or canteens insist on not giving out straws, we will consider [ …] distributing straws,” he said.

Edited by Ginny Wong