Officials in Delhi have banned the “use, storage, and sale” of plastic bags, the Guardian reports, after Indian environmentalists warned about the dangers of the non-biodegradable bags. Violators could be imprisoned for up to 5 years and fined over $2,000. Plastic bags have become a staple in Delhi amid a booming economy and the proliferation of Western-style shopping malls.
But the bags clog drains, providing breeding grounds for malaria and dengue fever, environmentalists say. Initially, authorities will go easy on offenders, but some vendors are bristling. “The shopkeeper will not spend out of his pocket to provide expensive recycled or paper bags,” said one. “The consumer will be affected more.” Rwanda, Bhutan, and Bangladesh already have enacted similar bans.