NEW DELHI — On Mumbai’s Versova beach, it was once hard to see the sand amid the endless sea of plastic bags and trash. The long stretch of coast had essentially turned into a dumping site until volunteers banded together to clean it up. A few months later, Olive Ridley turtles began nesting there for the first time in 20 years.

Now municipal authorities are taking a new step in the battle against the plastic waste that afflicts Mumbai and so many other cities across the country by criminalizing plastic bags with fines of up to $366 and jail sentences for repeat offenders.

India actually has a low per capita plastic consumption of just 11 kilograms, compared to Western countries where up to 10 times that is consumed each year, but its cities and water sources are visibly affected by plastic pollution. In Mumbai especially, the long coastline is plagued by floating plastic litter. In the monsoons, when the seas rise and splash over onto roads, piles of plastic trash litter the city’s sidewalks and roads.

Authorities have already collected $5,000 in fines from 87 shops since the ban was enforced Saturday, and chains such as Starbucks and McDonalds have come under fire for failing to replace plastic packaging.

Mumbai is the largest Indian city to enforce the ban, joining a handful of countries such as Kenya and Rwanda to introduce jail time for using plastic bags. Brought in by the state government of Maharashtra – home to 110 million people – the ban has huge potential to reduce India’s 26,000 tons of daily plastic waste.

“Plastic is like a demon; we all must come together to kill it,” Maharashtra’s environment minister, Ramdas Kadam, said Monday.

The push toward reducing plastic is part of a national effort in India to clean up its cities and towns. In June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on world leaders to curb environmental degradation and plastic pollution. “Plastic now threatens to become a menace to humanity. A lot of it never makes it to the recycling bin. Worse, a lot of it is non-biodegradable,” he said.

Bollywood stars have chimed in too, using their social media accounts and appearing in government advertisements to discourage plastic usage.

Critics, however, say the ban will hit small retailers and businesses the hardest.