To ensure a cleaner country, Chile bans commercial use of plastic bags

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Chile has legally banned the widespread commercial use of plastic bags to embrace a culture of recycling rather than the “throwaway” culture, President Sebastián Piñera said.

Mr Piñera said the new rules were a great step for a cleaner Chile.

“We want to go from a throwaway culture, where everything is used and chucked away, to the healthy culture of recycling,” he said.

“There are 7.6 billion inhabitants in the world. We can’t continue polluting as if each one of us owned the Earth.”

The new legislation, approved by Congress and enacted by President Sebastián Piñera, gives small shops two years to adapt to a total ban. Larger business will have six months to stop using plastic bags.

In the meantime they will only be allowed to hand out two carrier bags per customer.

Businesses that break the rules will face a fine of $370.

The legislation was proposed by his predecessor, Michelle Bachelet, who banned the use of plastic bags in Chile’s Patagonia region.

Scientists say plastic pollution has a devastating impact on marine wildlife and affects the health of humans.

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