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Russia Moves to Phase Out Plastic Bags in New Draft Law

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Russia’s consumer-protection watchdog has drafted a bill to phase out production of single-use plastic bags, the pro-Kremlin Izvestia tabloid reported Friday.

Greenpeace estimates that more than 26 billion plastic bags are handed out annually in shops across Russia. State polling has shown this year that almost one in four Russians are willing to give up plastic bags to cut waste and help the environment.

Russia’s Federal Consumer Protection Service (Rospotrebnadzor) told Izvestia it soon plans to share its draft bill on phasing out single-use plastic bags with other government agencies.

Rospotrebnadzor did not indicate when it forecasts plastic bags to disappear from shops across Russia.

Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry reportedly backs Rospotrebnadzor’s plans. Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry has not yet commented on the proposed plastic bag phaseout.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in Moscow and the State Duma called to ban plastic bags across the country amid mounting problems related to pollution.

Concerns are growing worldwide about plastic pollution, especially in oceans, where nearly 50% of single-use plastic products end up, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, studies have shown. Plastic bags can take centuries to degrade. 

At least 127 countries regulate plastic bags in one way or another, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Resources Institute have found last year.

Reuters contributed reporting.

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