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Italy Bans Plastic Bags (VIDEO)

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Italy's ban on single-use plastic bags took effect on New Year's Day.

This couldn't come too soon, considering that Italians use about 20 billion plastic bags per year. According to WWF biologist Eva Alessi, each Italian uses 400 plastic bags per year, and Italy is responsible for 25 percent of all plastic bag production in Europe.

Environmentalists are pleased with the ban because plastic bags are horrible on the environment, degrading extremely slowly and taking decades to decompose. They are also potentially harmful to marine life and other animals.

According to BBC News, the law for a gradual ban on single-use plastic bags was introduced in 2006 and given a deadline of January 2010. However, the ban was postponed due to pressure from plastic bag manufacturers, who complained that they needed more time to reduce inventories.

Critics worry that the ban will be difficult to implement, and that the steps of enforcement are unclear.

MSNBC provides the following report on the ban.

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