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New Zealand bans single-use plastic bags

New Zealand bans single-use plastic bags

New Zealand has officially banned single-use plastic shopping bags and introduced hefty fines for businesses that continue to provide these plastic shopping bags.

Companies that will break New Zealand's ban will face heavy penalties, including fines of up to 100,000 New Zealand dollars (USD 67,000).

The legislation to ban the single-use plastic shopping bags was announced in August last year and came into force on 1st July 2019.It will have little practical effect, as New Zealand's major supermarkets have already voluntarily banned the bags.

More than 80 countries have already introduced similar bans, according to the UN Environment Programme. The first country to ban plastic bags was Bangladesh, which enacted the rule in 2002.

Plastic pollution has become a growing global concern, with a million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals injured or killed every year by becoming entangled in packaging or ingesting it through the food chain.

According to the estimates Britain's Royal Statistical Society, 90.5 per cent of all plastic waste - about 6,300 million metric tonnes - has never been recycled and is either in landfills or accumulating in the natural environment.

If current production and waste management trends continue, it is estimated that the ocean of plastic waste will double to 12,000 million metric tonnes by 2050.

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