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Chile as first Latin American country to ban plastic bags

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Plastic waste at a coast. Photo © Pixaby
Around 8 Million tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans each year. Photo © Pixaby

After the successful approval by the Chilean congress and the initiative of new state president Sebastián Piñera, Chile has now banned plastic bags as the first country in Latin America. "We want to go from a throwaway culture, where everything is used and chucked away, to the healthy culture of recycling," Piñera said according to a BBC Online report.

In order to implement the new law, supermarkets are supposed to phase out plastic bags within six months, whereas smaller shops were set a deadline of two years. A distribution of plastic bags after the deadline has passed can be fined with an amount of up to 300 euros.

Plastic-polluted oceans

According to the Chilean industry and the environmental ministry, the Latin American country consumes around 3.4 bn plastic bags each year – a great amount of which ends right within the ocean. In 2015, a US-study has revealed that annually, 8 mn tons of plastic reach the ocean. If this pollution won’t stop soon, in 2050 there will be as much plastic in the ocean as there will be fish. Thus, the former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet already banned plastic bags in coastal regions last year.

 

Please also read:

EU plastic regulation puts manufacturers under obligation

Packaging Congress: Germany says goodbye to the plastic bag


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