[NEW YORK] New Yorkers will soon have to pay for disposable plastic and paper bags in a city that consumes billions of them each year.
The City Council voted on Thursday to require shoppers to pay five cents for each disposable bag they use in certain stores.
The measure, adopted after heated debate by 28 votes to 20, is aimed at encouraging New Yorkers to use reusable bags, the council said.
"Every year, New Yorkers dispose of 9.37 billion single-use plastic bags - and millions of them end up in our neighbourhoods, trees, streets, and oceans," said Councilman Brad Lander, who co-sponsored the legislation.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would support the measure.
The new regulations will apply to grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, hardware stores and some street vendors.
Liquor stores, food trucks and restaurants sending take-out deliveries are among those to be exempt.
Stores failing to follow the new regulations will be fined US$250 for a first offense and US$500 for subsequent violations as of April 2017.
A number of other US cities already ban disposable plastic bags, and in some cases paper ones.