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Plastic bags banned in Kadıköy

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 3/6/2010 12:00:00 AM |

One of Istanbul's most populated and cosmopolitan districts, Kadıköy, imposes a ban on the use of plastic bags.

One of Istanbul’s most populated and cosmopolitan districts, Kadıköy, imposed a ban last week on the use of plastic bags.

The ban went into effect as of March 1, making it the first action taken in Turkey against the use of plastic bags as part of an initiative for better environmental protection.

Kadiköy Mayor Selami Öztürk, who brought the idea of banning plastic bags before the district council last December, said many countries have a plastic-bag ban or restrictions limiting the throwaway bags.

The mayor added that he hopes the move will influence other districts in Istanbul, which has a total population of at least 12 million. “Our purpose is to foster environmental consciousness,” he said.

Since the municipality will not issue fines for failing to comply with the ban, the policy has not caused complaints among shopkeepers. Most storeowners, in fact, supported the ban and some switched over to reusable cloth bags even before it began. Some local residents wondered how they are supposed to buy fish and bring it home in a cloth bag, but most said they like the idea of using environmentally friendly bags like was done in the past, when shoppers carried reusable market bags around.

The municipality has also met with plastic-bag producers to work out a plan for producing biodegradable plastic bags.

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