New Zealand will ban single-use plastic bags by end of this year, becoming the latest in a series of governments taking the threat of plastic bags seriously. The government follows the country’s top retailers, who have already pledged to replace plastic by 2019.
Retailers found in violation of the ban will be fined up to $65000.
“We’re phasing out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand’s clean, green reputation,” said Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister.
“Every year in New Zealand we use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags. A mountain of bags, many of which end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environments and cause serious harm to all kinds of marine life, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business,” she added.
Ardern said people were already changing the way they shop “We need to be far smarter in the way we manage waste and this is a good start.”
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This is one of many steps that New Zealand is taking to save the environment. In April 2018, they announced a stop to all offshore exploration of gas and oil.
New Zealand follows more than 60 other countries that have taken action on single use plastics. While Kenya, Chile, Taiwan and Morocco have banned plastic bags, others are approaching this gradually.