The US of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has announced the implementation of a ban on single-use plastic bags to reduce local waste, plastic pollution, and litter.

The law bans retailers from distributing single-use plastic bags and mandates a minimum charge of $0.10 for paper bags to encourage the adoption of reusable bags over disposable alternatives.

Pennsylvania currently boasts 24 municipal policies, one of which includes the Pittsburgh City Council’s unanimous approval of a single-use plastic bag ban on 12 April 2022.

Pittsburgh is claimed to be the first city outside of the Philadelphia area to implement such a law.

Single-use plastic bags decompose in the environment, but they never completely disappear. Instead, they transform into tiny plastic fragments known as microplastics.

Environmental organisation PennEnvironment conducted a study and discovered microplastics in all the samples collected from more than 100 of Pennsylvania’s water bodies.

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PennEnvironment deputy director Ashleigh Deemer said: “Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to litter our communities and pollute our environment for centuries. That’s why it’s been so exciting to see Pittsburgh’s ban on single-use plastic bags take shape.

“From helping City Council draft the bill, to building public and business support for its passage, and now seeing mayor [Ed] Gainey’s administration take the reins and implement it, PennEnvironment has been proud to partner with city officials in this effort.”