PRIMARY pupils described as a "force of nature" have persuaded two major players to quit using plastic straws.

Environmental campaigners from Sunnyside Primary School have convinced Scotland's biggest council to ban straws.

And the news comes as Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) has also pledged to stop offering plastic straws on its ferries thanks to the youngsters' persuasive skills.

Calling themselves the Sunnyside Ocean Defenders, pupils have been involved in an impressive campaign to convince Glasgow City Council and big businesses to switch to more eco-friendly options.

Now, following the intervention of the Craigend school, Encore, the council's commercial catering division, will stop providing straws with customers' drinks from the end of February and people who ask for one will receive an eco-friendly alternative.

The use of pre-packaged drinks supplied with plastic straws will also be reviewed to see if more environmentally friendly options are feasible.

Councillor Anna Richardson, the council's Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, announced the good news.

She said: "I'm delighted to announce that single use plastic straws will not be on offer in all council-run cafes and restaurants from the end of February and that they will be replaced by eco-friendly alternatives.

"Sunnyside Primary School's #NaeStrawAtAw campaign has been the deciding factor in this move and the pupils are to be congratulated on their impressive lobbying skills.

"They are a true force of nature - highlighting the plight of marine wildlife and encouraging businesses to join their campaign.

"It is an absolute pleasure to announce Glasgow City Council's backing for the campaign which will help protect our marine environment for wildlife and future generations."

The decision applies to more than 26 cafes in the council's museums, sports centres, offices, schools and the City Chambers.

It will prevent tens of thousands of plastic straws a year going to landfill.

Dropped straws can also be blown into rivers and washed into the sea where they threaten seabirds, turtles, whales and dolphins.

Micro plastics can also get into the food chain if accidentally eaten by fish.

The announcement brought whoops of delight from Sunnyside pupils who were also instrumental in helping their peers in Ullapool convince all 14 businesses in the village to ditch the straws.

Lisa Perrie, Principal Teacher of Sunnyside Primary, said: "This is fantastic news and the children are absolutely thrilled.

"They have worked so hard on this campaign and the results have been amazing.

"We've had tremendous support and Glasgow City Council's announcement is a major boost.

"It shows the children they can make a big difference in the world and that their views really matter."

Last week, the school's Ocean Defenders won support from Best Bar None Glasgow - which runs an annual awards scheme involving almost 100 pubs, clubs and licensed premises in the city.

Venues that reduce plastic straw usage are to receive extra credits in the awards, which recognise good practice among the licensed trade.

Follow #NaeStrawAtAw on twitter to hear the latest on the pupils' campaign which was carried out as part of their Schools Charter work.

Meanwhile, CalMac folded under pressure from primary pupils at Sunnyside, signing up to the #NaeStrawAtAw campaign.

The campaign has already seen Ullapool in Wester Ross become what is believed to be the first village in the UK to halt use of plastic straws in all bars, restaurants and cafes.

CalMac said it was also reviewing its provision of other singe-use plastics on its boats.

Sunnyside Ocean Defenders, whose environmental campaign has been going since 2011, have even been leaving Theresa May running to catch up, with the Prime Minister recently announcing a pledge to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK within 25 years.

Other firms have already joined the call to cut plastic use.

In an unconnected move, Pret a Manger and Wagamama announced last week an end to automatically providing plastic straws to customers.

Instead, a paper alternative will be offered and plastic straws will be available only on request.

Trade organisation Plastics Europe said the UK uses 3.7 million tonnes of plastic a year. while a study by Eunomia Research & Consulting estimates that EU countries use 36.4 billon straws each year.

Wagamama's new policy will come into into force on Earth Day, April 22.

Last year pub chain JD Wetherspoon said it would be providing paper straws rather than plastic ones in its bars and McDonald's has said it is exploring ways to reduce straw consumption.

In October last year the Evening Times told how Sunnyside Ocean Defenders had been cleaning up beaches in the north of Scotland.

Some 10 youngsters travelled to the Highlands where they joined forced with Ullapool Primary School.

During their week long visit the Ocean Defenders had the chance to explore the area through activities organised by NW Living Seas Community Liaison Officer, Noel Hawkins.

Pupils had the chance to work with marine experts including Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust; WDC Shorewatch group and dolphin photographer Charlie Phillips.