IMAGINE the challenge. Your country is the second largest personal user of plastic bags, at 800 each annually, about half the extraordinary American consumption, but four times greater than the world average of 200. However you are delighted to be awarded the 2016 UN Climate Change Conference so this plastic abuse needs sorting.

With the minimum of consultation, the Moroccan government decided to ban plastic bags outright, and did so, though implementing the new policy will take some time to be completed. It was important for them to be able to demonstrate that they recognised the many problems caused by plastic waste and the CO2 produced in their manufacture.

They join another thirty two countries who have already taken action to ban or severely reduce plastic bag use with many of them African, such as Malawi and Rwanda. Kenya is particularly serious about making sure that plastic bags can’t block the drains and those making, selling or importing them face a fine of up to £15,000 or four years in jail !

The current world use of such bags is mind boggling with between 500 billion and one trillion being made each year, that’s over one million per minute. The oil used to make just nine average bags would allow a car to drive for one kilometre and despite this only one in two hundred bags is recycled.

The Moroccan part of my family has just returned to Leeds and the presents they produced were in the new replacement bags, made of recycled paper and fibre that feels like a soft fabric, and is biodegradable though the strength of each bag suggests that they will provide longer use before being composted.

Internationally Morocco has now joined a growing number of countries that have banned plastic bags completely, from Bangladesh, to China, with Italy, Australia, South Africa and others curtailing the use of single use and non biodegradable bags.

However the answer isn’t a matter of finding a plastic or paper bag that is biodegradable when the environmental cost is still so high for all forms of bag. We need to return to the good old days when we took a tough cloth bag or wicker basket with us when we went shopping.

Morrisons, please show the way - stop providing all bags, plastic and otherwise, for customers.