Chile made history on Friday when it became the first country in South America to ban the commercial use of plastic bags. "I want to share with you the joy that as of today we’re enacting the law," said President Sebastian Pinera at a public ceremony in the centre of Santiago.
Large businesses have six months to phase out the use of plastic bags, while smaller ones will be given two years to adopt the new rules. It means that any form of plastic bag other than those constituting primary packaging "necessary for hygiene or to prevent food wastage" are prohibited.
Those flouting the ban will be subject to a $370 fine, in a country where the minimum wage is just $800. In the meantime, companies will be limited to handing out a maximum of two plastic bags per transaction.
Chile has been one of the countries leading the way in Latin America against the use of plastic bags. In 2014 the government banned them in Chilean Patagonia and last year extended that to coastal areas. Chile’s problem has reached epic proportions with 3.2 billion plastic bags used every year － some 200 per person. Some 90 percent of them end up in landfill sites or the sea.
phase out：逐步淘汰。例句：The Taiwan government has promised to phase out nuclear power by 2025.（台灣政府承諾2025年前逐步淘汰核電。）
lead the way：打先鋒、帶路。例句：The company is leading the way in developing new software.（該公司在開發新軟體方面居領先地位。）
（of）epic proportions：巨大的、超乎尋常的。例句：The wildfire was of epic proportions.（野火的規模超乎尋常。）