China plans to ban the production of certain #singleuseplastic items by the end 2020.
According to the guideline co-published Sunday by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China aims to gradually limit the production, use, and sale of single-use plastic items while also promoting alternative means to improve the recycling rate of plastic and reduce the amount of plastic sent to landfills.
Mao Da, founder of the nonprofit group Zero Waste Beijing, sees the long-awaited guideline as a “milestone policy”. However, he added that encouraging individuals to use biodegradable plastic, rather than reducing plastic use, would only hurt the environment in the long run.
China is the world’s largest plastics producer/exporter, accounting for over one-quarter of global plastic production in 2018.
Over 88% of #waste on the sea surface and ocean floor is plastic, according to a 2018 report from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment. Another study published in 2017 estimated that up to 1.5 million metric tons of plastic waste from the Yangtze River is dumped into the Yellow Sea each year — the most among 10 rivers globally that together account for 90% of all plastic found in the #oceans .
Single-use plastic straws, cotton swabs, and cosmetic products containing microbeads — as well as certain plastic soil coverings that are considered a main source of farmland soil pollution are expected to be entirely eliminated nationwide by the end of 2020.
According to the guideline, by 2025 all hotels will be banned from offering free single-use plastic items, mail and delivery services will be prohibited from using nonbiodegradable plastic packages, tape, and single-use plastic bags. Cities will be required to ban nonbiodegradable plastic bags and aim for a 30% reduction in the consumption of single-use cutlery.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
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