Environmentalists believe that the potential impact of the waste is immense.

Sen Fahy said: "It occurred to me during the Budget debates that this is one opportunity to take the lead in Bermuda and outright ban plastic bags.

"The effect of plastic in the environment is quite unbelievable."

He explained that some areas of India have banned the use of plastic bags, while other jurisdictions such as Ireland have introduced taxes on plastic bags to discourage their use.

Sen Fahy also noted that some local retailers have had some success in promoting reusable bags, an effort which he encouraged.

Government announced in the 2010 Throne Speech that it would consider legislation that would ban balloons and plastic bags as a means of protecting the environment. Such legislation has yet to be tabled.

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