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Germany plans to ban single-use plastic shopping bags next year

File photo: plastic bags banned in germany Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Berlin, Germany Sep 06, 2019, 06.38 PM (IST)

Germany plans to ban single-use plastic bags from next year, joining a growing movement to fight global pollution, the environment minister said Friday.

Supermarkets and other retailers will be barred from offering lightweight plastic carrier bags at their checkouts, including those now marketed as being biodegradable or being made from renewable sources instead of petroleum.

"The vast majority of Germans want this ban," said Environment Minister Svenja Schulze of the centre-left Social Democrats, introducing the initiative that she hopes to soon turn into law.

Breaches of the ban, set to take effect in the first half of next year, would threaten businesses with fines of up to 100,000 euros ($110,000), according to a report by Bild newspaper. 

Plastic pollution, especially in waterways and oceans, is a major ecological hazard as it injures or kills marine and bird life, fouls beaches and creates giant floating garbage patches in oceans.

Scientists warn that, as plastic slowly breaks down, the micro-particles enter food chains and end up in humans, with studies showing toxic traces in the waste of people in Europe and Asia.

Story highlights

Supermarkets and other retailers will be barred from offering lightweight plastic carrier bags at their checkouts, including those now marketed as being biodegradable or being made from renewable sources instead of petroleum.