“It’s plastic, plastic everywhere”
Yes, its plastic everywhere, but do we take any actions to reduce its use? Well, these countries have already done their job. On 30th May Chile became the first South American country to ban single-use plastic bags. The current President Sebastian Pinera decided to put a ban on plastics. The ban will come into in one year’s time for major retailers and two year’s time for smaller ones.
The initiative was first brought under the presidency of Michelle Bachelet in 2017. Along with Chile, several other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are also using taxes and bans to reduce the use of plastic. The production and consumption of plastic is a serious threat in the present scenario.
According to United Nations Environment Programme, the world consumes up to 5 trillion plastic every year. A low-cost polymer derived from petroleum called polyethylene is used to make plastic. It takes around 500 years for these plastics to degrade. Moreover, it is shocking to hear that only 9% of the plastics in the world gets recycled.
Impacts of the Ban
The Latin American and the Caribbean countries have rich coral reefs. They are also home to the Amazon Basin and Patagonian island. In 2016 Antigua and Barbuda were the first countries to ban plastic in this region. In 2017, Columbia later followed the ban. The countries imposed a high tax on plastic bags, and also bringing changes in its design and greater durability.
The measures taken by the countries helped to reduce plastic consumption by 35% percent. The ban also resulted in a rise of $ 3.6 of the government’s revenue due to tax imposition on Columbia. The government charged 20 Columbian pesos for each plastic bags. The country will increase the tax until it reaches 50 pesos in 2020.
Followers of the Ban
Many of the neighboring countries are also following Chile and Columbia to eradicate plastic. In early 2018, Panama became the first country to ban polythene bags in Central America. Likewise, Costa Rica adopted a national plan to combat marine litter by 2021. One of the main reason in the UK to ban wet wipes was to reduce marine litter.
Whereas Ecuador aims to transform remote islands into plastic-free zones. After 21 August this year, these islands won’t engage in the sale or use of plastic straws, plastic bags or plastic bottles.
The Peru government is also debating on various bills and issues in the Congress. The country aims to reduce the consumption of plastic by 35% during the first year of implementation of the law. The major cities like Mexico, Sao Paulo, and Buenos Aires have also joined hands to bid farewell to plastic.