Mexico City lawmakers approved a measure to ban businesses from selling or giving customers single-use plastics, according to the New York Times.
The new law goes into effect January 2021, and in the months ahead, lawmakers will further flesh out the details of the statute, including what kinds of penalties will be enacted on companies found to be in violation. They’ll also open up a debate to allow discussions on how businesses can transition to plastic alternatives.
The announcement shows how widespread the global effort against single-use plastics has become over the past few years. More than 60 countries have taken action to restrict plastic production, and major cities as diverse as Paris, Mumbai, and New York have enacted their own restrictions.
The sweeping nature of Mexico City’s ban, which covers plastic bags, cutlery, cups, and more, puts it ahead of other areas that have targeted specific types of plastic such as styrofoam containers.
Mexico City has long grappled with a gargantuan waste management problem, with too much waste produced and too little landfill and recycling capacity to handle it, and has tried to rein in the problem of plastic pollution in the past.
In the years since the city first tried to ban plastic bags in 2009, sustainable alternatives to plastic have become more common, major companies have phased out plastic on their own, and everyday people have championed zero-waste movements.
Even still, plastic production is expected to increase by 40% over the next decade, which could lead to staggering environmental consequences. Already, more than 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans each year and microplastics contaminate the food, water, and air that humans depend on.
Mexico City taking a stand against this environmental hazard could help to further accelerate momentum toward a more sustainable future.