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Plastic bags outlawed in Mexico City

August 24, 2009 | 10:22 am

In the latest effort to improve Mexico City's environment, it became illegal last week for supermarkets and other businesses to hand out nonbiodegradable plastic bags to customers.

CNN reports that "amended ordinances on solid waste now outlaw businesses from giving out thin plastic bags that are not biodegradable."

Sure enough, on my weekly trip to the Soriana supermarket in my neighborhood, I had my groceries packed into plastic bags emblazoned with a logo promising they were biodegradable.

All stores, production facilities and service providers within Mexico City, also called the Federal District, will be affected by the new law, which makes Mexico City the second big city in the Western Hemisphere to enact such a ban, along with San Francisco.

The move by the Mexico City government follows a number of other recent environmentally friendly initiatives, including the introduction along some routes of new buses that emit less pollution, and a planned bike-lending scheme expected to launch in December.

Officials hope to increase bicycle use, but riding on the streets of the city right now is a health risk due to a lack of bicycle lanes and reckless drivers.

-- Deborah Bonello, in Mexico City

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