ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York’s governor is proposing a statewide ban on plastic shopping bags.

Democrat Andrew Cuomo announced the legislation Monday, saying the ubiquitous plastic bags are taking a “devastating” toll on the environment. If passed, Cuomo’s measure would also include efforts to encourage the use of reusable bags.

“The blight of plastic bags takes a devastating toll on our streets, our water and our natural resources, and we need to take action to protect our environment,” Gov. Cuomo said. “As the old proverb goes: ‘We did not inherit the earth, we are merely borrowing it from our children,’ and with this action we are helping to leave a stronger, cleaner and greener New York for all.”

California and Hawaii already ban the disposable containers. So do many cities, including Chicago and Seattle.

Each year New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags, making them a leading source of litter and plastic pollution. However, some municipalities in New York have taken it upon themselves to fix the problem. Currently, 10 cities, towns, and villages have enacted plastic bag bans. One municipality has a plastic bag ban with a fee on single-use paper bags and bags that qualify as reusable, including 2.25 mil flexible plastic bags. The City of Long Beach has a single-use plastic bag fee in place and Suffolk County’s single-use plastic bag fee took effect on Jan. 1.

The proposal will likely face significant legislative opposition. Last year, lawmakers and Cuomo blocked New York City from imposing a per-bag fee.

Cuomo’s new proposal came on the same day that Cynthia Nixon, his Democratic primary opponent,  joined hundreds at an environmental rally outside the state Capitol.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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