Commercial establishments that deliver bags to their customers must charge them a fee of 20 Colombian pesos (approximately 1 cent) for each bag. This rate will increase by 10 pesos (half a dollar) each year, so that by 2020 it will reach 50 pesos (2 cents) per bag.
"This tax aims at an environmental sustainability that will depend on the conscience of each one of the Colombians", indicated the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia, Luis Gilberto Murillo.
Colombia, a member of the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign, has already reduced the consumption of plastic bags by 27% during 2017 after launching other measures that discourage their use and promote biodegradable bags.
Bags smaller than 30 × 30 centimeters were out of circulation since December 31, 2016 and the new ones must have sufficient capacity to support more weight, as well as messages alluding to recycling and caring for the planet.
With these policies, framed in the local campaignGive back to the Planet, the Government and private companies seek to gradually reduce the use of bags in the following years, until reaching a reduction of 60% compared to 2016 levels.
“Colombia advances in the regulation of plastic bags. In the last year we have seen a change in the consumption habit that undoubtedly has a very positive impact when it comes to reducing the environmental effects of waste such as plastic, ”said Minister Murillo.
These commitments are aligned with the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign, which seeks to end by 2022 the production of microplastics and single-use plastics.
In addition to Colombia, the governments of Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and the Mexican city of Tijuana support the campaign and have pledged to combat marine pollution.
According to official estimates and the WWF organization, a Colombian uses 6 bags a week, 24 a month, 288 a year and 22,176 in an average life span of 77 years. An unsustainable pace that causes negative impacts on the health of the oceans.
At the Conference on the Oceans, which was held from June 5 to 9 in New York, Colombia ratified the commitment to increase the extent of marine protected areas from the current 8.59% to at least 13% of the Colombian marine territory, for above the global target of 10% by 2020.
Colombia is one of the countries with the greatest marine diversity in the world, with a coastline of 2,900 kilometers and a territorial sea that reaches almost one million square kilometers. In its waters there are 2,600 marine species, 155 hard corals and 6 of the 7 existing species of turtles.
Marine litter, mostly made up of plastic debris, is one of the serious threats that looms over the oceans. Twenty times more plastic is produced today than in the 1960s.
Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic are discharged into the oceans, causing $ 8 billion in damage to economic activities such as fishing, aquaculture and tourism. If urgent action is not taken, the oceans could host more plastics than fish by 2050.