Mexico City has now become the second largest city in the Western Hemisphere (second only to San Francisco) to initiate a green law outlawing plastic bags at stores. Thousands of stores in the city all phased out their use of the thin–film single-use plastic bags on Wednesday as ordinances for solid waste were amended preventing businesses from distributing plastic bags that are not biodegradable.
The law affects all stores, production facilities and service providers within the Federal District, which encompasses the city limits. Nearly 9 million people live inside the district and another 10 million reside in surrounding communities that make up greater Mexico City.
When San Francisco enacted their ordinance in March of 2007, they gave supermarkets six months and large pharmacies about a year to phase out their use of plastic bags. Los Angeles is set to follow San Francisco’s lead in the coming year if the city does not impose a 25-cent fee per bag by July.
Bans on these plastic bags are taking place around the world; China has imposed stringent limits on the use of the bags, reducing litter and eliminating the use of 40 billion bags. Violators of the law are subjected to a fine of 10,000 yuan ($1,463 USD). Similarly, in Tanzania, selling the bags will earn you a maximum jail sentence of six months and a 1.5 million shilling fine ($1,137 USD).
Mumbai, India, outlawed the bags in 2000 and cities in Australia, Italy, South Africa and Taiwan have imposed bans or surcharges. Ireland reported cutting use of the bags by 90 percent after imposing a fee on each one.
The single-use plastic bags are the most prevalent form of litter second only to cigarette butts, and are the most common form of litter in the ocean. The bags choke marine life and have been calculated to have caused the death of 100,000 sea turtles and other marine life who have mistaken the bags for food.
Don’t wait for your city to enact the ordinance. Most grocery stores and supermarkets are now selling reusable bags. They are not that expensive, and they really help out the environment. Keep them in your trunk and that way you’ll be sure to have them when you need them.
Hope your weekend is going well