Belize pledges to ban all plastic bags and utensils

March 23, 2018

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The country of Belize just announced a major step to fight plastic waste in the ocean: phasing out all plastic utensils, bags and straws.

Paul J. Richards/Getty Images

The goal is to fully ban those and other single-use plastic products by April 22, 2019 — which is Earth Day.

AFP Contributor/Getty Images

The move is an effort to help stem the massive amount of plastic waste collecting in the world’s oceans and threatening marine life.

David J. Philip/AP

Off the coast of Belize, which is home to a large barrier reef, a huge, floating island of plastic and trash is collecting in the Caribbean Sea.

Dan Dennison/AP

According to one recent study, the amount of nonbiodegradable plastic in our oceans will triple from 2015 to 2025.

Jay Directo/Getty Images

One report predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish unless we take action.

Caleb Jones/AP

Belize isn’t the first country to announce a ban on single-use plastics: France banned plastic cups and plates in 2016.

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Kenya has strict punishments for plastic bag users, and Taiwan has announced a plan to eventually ban plastic straws.

Philippe Hugen/Getty Images

But in the U.S., there are only two states that have all-out banned plastic bags: California and Hawaii.

David McNew/Getty Images

And nine U.S. states, believe it or not, have actually gone the opposite direction and banned the banning of single-use plastics.

Jack Taylor/Getty Images