A popular tourist town in western Puerto Rico has become the island’s first municipality to ban plastic bags, the Associated Press reports.
Rincón Mayor Carlos Lopez tells reporters that plastic bags have been affecting marine life at a nearby reserve. He urged other municipalities to follow his lead.
All businesses will have to eliminate plastic bags by February 2015 or face fines ranging from $100 to $500. Businesses will offer recycled paper bags for sale, or customers can bring their own.
Lopez said Monday that revenue from fines will be used for environmental programs.
Puerto Rico legislators have debated the issue, including charging for plastic bags. But no measures have been approved at an island-wide level.
Rincón joins other U.S. cities including San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles in banning plastic bags.