24 Aug 2018 Press release Chemicals & waste

Tijuana, first Mexico-US border city to ban plastic bags

Mexico, 24 August 2018 - The city of Tijuana became the first Mexican city on the border with the United States to approve a ban on disposable plastic bags. Tijuana´s city council approved the modification of its environmental protection regulations on Thursday, August 23, in order to ban the sale, delivery and even gifting sale of single-use plastic bags,including biodegradable bags.

"Every year the world uses around 5 billion plastic bags, and most of them end up in the oceans. Inclusive initiatives to reduce the use of bags, where government, private sector and civil society agree, as in the case of Tijuana, are crucial to protect our seas," said Leo Heileman, UN Environment Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The bold measure taken by the city, located in the Mexican state of Baja California, will enter into force in 180 days, and will grant businesses a period of 24 months to adapt to the new regulation.

The ban was supported by the city´s business sector through the National Chamber of the Transformation Industry, as well as by the civil society.

Some 60 countries have introduced bans and regulations on single-use plastics, including plastic bags and expanded polystyrene articles, according to the UN Environment report “Single-use Plastics: A roadmap for Sustainability.” Plastic bag bans, if properly planned and enforced, can effectively counter one of the causes of plastic overuse, states the report.

"In Mexico, more than 15 initiatives, laws and regulations at the state and municipal levels, seek to reduce the consumption of disposable plastics. In Tijuana, I am sure we will see more efficient waste management and disposal systems, and local governments efforts like this one also contribute to beat plastic pollution globally," said Dolores Barrientos, UN Environment representative in Mexico.

13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean each year. Plastic pollution is one of the great environmental challenges of our time, and we need to reduce the heavy burden it poses on people’s health, environment and wildlife. By 2030 the world may produce 619 million tonnes of plastic every year.

Monica Juliana Vega, member of Tijuana´s City Council, assured that the ban on plastic bags approved this Thursday "is the first step to turn Tijuana into a plastic-free city, create healthy living conditions for the population, have cleaner beaches and build a sustainable city".

Tijuana is located on the Pacific Ocean shore and has an approximate population of 1.6 million people.

"We at the business sector are very excited with this initiative, as it is the first Mexican city on the border with the United States to have a regulation of this type," said Marcello Hinojosa, president of CANACINTRA Tijuana.

UN Environment launched #CleanSeas in February 2017, with the aim of engaging governments, the general public, civil society and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic litter. Fifteen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have joined the campaign:  Argentina, Barbados, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Granada, Guyana, Honduras, Panamá, Perú, República Dominicana, Santa Lucía and Uruguay.

NOTE TO EDITORS

About UN Environment:

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

For media inquiries, please contact: María Amparo Lasso, Head of Communication for Latin America and the Caribbean, UN Environment. maria.lasso@un.org, +52 55 511 9683