Morocco has banned the production and use of plastic bags, with many shops and street sellers across the country having reportedly stocked-up last week ahead of the legislation which came into force on July 1, reports Al Jazeera.

The bill, which has been several years in the works, was passed by Morocco’s parliament last October and means that the production, import, sale and distribution of plastic bags is now forbidden across the country.

Morocco is the second-largest plastic bag consumer in the world after the US, using around three billion plastic bags each year, according to the Morocco Industry Ministry. This means on average each one of Morocco’s 34 million people uses around 900 bags every year.

It is thought the ban will therefore take some getting used to in Morocco, although the government’s Industry Minister, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, suggested on Twitter last year that several plastic bag alternatives would be made widely available, such as paper and fabric bags.

The plastic bag ban comes ahead of the COP22 global climate summit in Morocco, which takes place in the city of Marrakech in November.

Although Morocco’s environmental ambition and green economy has grown significantly in recent years, it is not the first African country to try to curb plastic bag use, with similar bans or taxes already in place in South Africa, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and others.

England also launched a long-awaited 5p levy on plastic bags from larger retailers last October, which followed similar charges on plastic bags in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (businessGreen)