NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers on eastern Long Island will soon be charged a fee for using plastic bags.

WCBS-TV reports Suffolk County's new plastic bag law takes effect Jan. 1. Under the law, shoppers will be charged five cents for each single-use bag.

County Legislator William Spencer says the initiative is an important step that will help curb pollution. Plastic bags can harm wildlife and cause clogging in drains.

Environmental advocates have praised the law.

Some local merchants say they were unaware of the change and worry shoppers will complain. Spencer says shoppers can bring their own bags to avoid the fee.

New York City officials proposed a plastic bag fee but Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo blocked it.

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Information from: WCBS-TV, http://www.cbs2ny.com