Around 150 bars and restaurants in Málaga are believed to have joined the campaign against the use of plastic straws for drinks. Two professional groups representing restaurant and beach bar owners have launched an awareness campaign emphasising the need to maintain sustainable beaches.

They say that the EU ban on single-use plastics which becomes law in 2021 will require major changes for beach businesses. Utensils and plates made of plastic will be outlawed, as will be the use of plastic containers for drinks and the plastic straws put in them.

This summer’s campaign is centred on the straws. The groups point out that discarded straws account for about six per cent of all pollution in the Mediterranean and that the plastic used in their manufacture takes around 500 years to biodegrade, In addition, Spain is Europe’s highest user of straws with around 13 million used – and discarded – every day.

Manuel Villafaina, President of the Association of Beaches in the province of Málaga, said the intention is to make people who uses the beaches aware that keeping them clean is essential, not only for our own enjoyment but for the environment. He said bar owners will display posters in Spanish and English urging their patrons to support the initiative.