Chile Set To Become First Nation To Ban Plastic Bags
As the global war against plastic rages on, in a groundbreaking move Chile is set to become the first nation to completely ban plastic bags.
Santiago-based newspaper La Tercera reports that the Senate approved a bill that would prohibit and replace plastic bags, with 38 votes in favour of the plan.
The initiative was initially aimed only at the Patagonia area, but was later extended to apply to the entire nation.
According to La Tercera, the idea will now move into its third stage, which takes it to the Chamber of Deputies.
If it is passed, the law will be put into action within one year of its announcement. In the meantime, supermarkets and shops will have to adhere to a strict rule that means they're only allowed to give out two plastic bags to consumers for each purchase they make.
Chile's President Sebastian Piñera announced the idea last year - citing United Nations and independent studies that showed that 8 million tons of plastic waste worldwide end up in the oceans each year. He also added that these take around 400 years to properly disintegrate.
Earlier this month National Geographic addressed the worldwide plastic problem with a thought-provoking special cover.
The artwork, which was by Mexican artist Jorge Gamboa, features what appears on first glance to be an iceberg floating in the ocean. However, below the waterline, the ice blends into an image of a submerged plastic bag.
The striking visual metaphor provoked plenty of debate and discussion on line, with Gerald Butts - the Principal Secretary to Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau - writing: "Brilliant cover. This one will be an icon. Well done, @NatGeo."
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The South East Asia editor of the Asia Times, Saikat Datta, added: "National Geographic outdoes itself with this brilliant cover and a dire warning. Planet, or plastic?"
National Geographic is using the cover to launch a campaign called 'Planet or Plastic?' which aims to highlight the problems caused by our dependence on single-use plastic such as carrier bags, plastic water bottles, coffee cups and other items such as straws and cutlery.
The magazine itself, which is usually wrapped in plastic when it appears in newsagents, has been packaged in paper for sale in outlets in the United States, the UK and India.
"Will eliminating a plastic magazine wrapper save the planet? Well, no. But it's an example of the kind of relatively easy action that every company, every government and every person can take," said Susan Goldberg, the magazine's editor-in-chief.
"When you put it together, that adds up to real change."
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Featured Image Credit: PA