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The global battle against plastic has taken a draconian turn with officials in Delhi announcing that the penalty for carrying a polythene shopping bag would be five years in prison. Officials in India’s capital have decided that the only way to stem the rising tide of rubbish is to outlaw the plastic shopping bag. According to the official note, the “use, storage and sale” of plastic bags of any kind or thickness will be banned. The new guideline means that customers, shopkeepers, hoteliers and hospital staff face a 100,000 rupee ($A3000) fine and possible jail time for using non-biodegradable bags. Delhi has been steadily filling up with plastic bags in recent years as the economy has boomed and Western-style shopping malls have sprung up in the city.  There are no reliable figures on bag use, but environmentalists say more than 10 million are used in the capital every day. Not only are the streets littered with them, but polythene takes hundreds of years to decompose and increases demand for oil, which is used to make plastics. Read more at http://www.theage.com.au/world/in-india-plastic-bag-use-is-a-capital-offence-20090117-7jl4.html

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