This Country Just Banned Plastic Bags From its Coast | This week’s travel news: Banning plastic from the beach, and the most relaxed cities in the world. (Hint: look at Europe.)
Each Friday, Outpost’s online editor rounds up the week’s biggest travel headlines.
By Michael Fraiman
If a country like Costa Rica announces its banning plastic bags from its coast, you might think, “That’s nice.” But when a country like Chile announces it, your ears should perk up. And that’s exactly what happened this week: the Chilean president has announced a bill that makes it the only country in the Americas to outlaw plastic bags from coastal cities. And with 4,270 kilometres of slender coastline, Chile is almost entirely coast. The move, which was announced at the general meeting of the United Nations, is primarily to protect the country’s marine life, including birds, turtles and fish. It’s unclear to me how they would stop people from bringing in plastic bags of their own, or what shops will replace plastic bags with, but it’s an exciting step for nature conservationists.
And if the idea of turtles choking on plastic stresses you out, you should go to Stuttgart, Germany—recently named the most relaxed city in the world. A British laundry-delivery company called Zipjet created a study compiling data from cities around the world, basing their results on financial security, traffic, pollution, greenness and other metrics. Of the top 10 cities, nine are European; Canada’s first entry is Montreal at number 24, beat by Kuwait City at number 23. I’m gonna say outright that I think this entire concept is silly and startlingly Euro-centric, and I call into question a the validity of some of these numbers. But whatever, it’s a fun list. Check it out if you’re curious.
Number 70 on that list was London, England, and part of its ranking was determined by public transport and unemployment—two factors that have led to the rise of ride-share companies like Uber. Unfortunately for Uber drivers in London, it looks like they’ll have to find other sources of income. The city of London has decided to strip Uber of its operating license, effectively banning it from the city. “Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security,” London’s mayor said. This brings the United Kingdom one step closer to Belgium, France and Spain in shutting Uber out. Then again, those countries have some of the most relaxed people in the world, so maybe Uber’s prevalence is the byproduct of a stress-inducing society that can only be dissolved with strict government regulation. O Brave New World, to have such relaxation in it!