New Zealand’s Prime Minister Says Country Will Ban Plastic Shopping Bags In 2019

Gabrielle Okun | Reporter

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country will ban plastic disposable shopping bags by July 2019 on Friday.

Ardern, a member of the Labour Party, said this is a step to reaffirm New Zealand’s eco-friendly reputation, The Associated Press reported.

Ardern made the announcement at a beach cafe while surrounded by schoolchildren. She noted that pollution is the largest issue children write to her about. (RELATED: New Zealand Company Has Employees Work For Four Days A Week Yet Pays Them For Five)

“I can hand-on-heart tell you that the biggest issue I get letters on, from the public, are about plastics, and it comes from children,” Ardern told reporters. “I literally get hundreds and hundreds. And that really stood out to me from the time I took on this job.”

The prime minister added that New Zealanders use hundreds of millions of plastic bags each year, some of which wreak havoc on the environment. Approximately 65,000 New Zealanders already signed a petition in 2018 urging the ban.

Ardern also shared the announcement with a photo of her surrounded by children on Instagram.

“Today we announced that we will be phasing out single use plastic bags in NZ,” she wrote.

Two New Zealand supermarket chains already announced they are planning on phasing out plastic bags by the end of 2018.

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