viernes, 11 de agosto de 2017

Panama votes to restrict plastic bags

Parliament in Panama voted on 10 August to approve a bill to gradually restrict the distribution of disposable plastic bags nationwide, in a bid to curb pollution by what the parliamentary website termed "deadly plastic." Its specifics were to be clarified by ministries within weeks. The Legislative Assembly ruled that pursuant to Law 492, shops must replace plastic bags with "containers made of non-polluting material or reusable plastic," no later than 24 months after the law's promulgation. The Environment Ministry would have to define within 15 days after promulgation the "technical specifiations" of these new bags, while consumer protection authorities would in time set penalties for violating the law. One of the legislators who proposed the law, Samir Gozaine, was cited as saying that biodegradable bags could technically already be made, though the website did not give details. He separately described the vote as in line with a "global movement" against plastic pollution. Shortly before the vote, an industry representative, Alfredo Villaverde, told the broadcaster TVN that bags were not the problem, but people's conduct. "All these bags can be recycled," he said, and did not "reach rivers and the sea alone." Spain's EFE agency reported on 10 August that the law seeks to cut plastic consumption by 20 per cent, over an unspecified time.