MANILA -- Senator Loren Legarda called Tuesday for a nationwide ban on plastic bags, with fines in the tens of thousands for violators.

Legarda has filed a bill proposing a total ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags at supermarkets and malls.

If passed, repeat violators will be fined up to P200,000 and will have their business licenses suspended. First-time offenders will be fined P10,000.

She said imposing the fines will compel establishments to invest in long-term biodegradable and reusable bags instead of on "seemingly cost-effective plastic bags."

"Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 clearly showed that plastic bags severely worsened the flooding in Metro Manila and made post-cleanup very difficult," she said. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)