China to ban single-use plastics

Beijing: China, one of the world’s biggest users of plastic, has unveiled a major plan to reduce single-use plastics across the country, a media report said on Monday.

The National Development and Reform Commission on Sunday issued the new policy, which will be implemented over the next five years, the BBC report said.

Plastic bags will be banned across all cities and towns in 2022, though markets selling fresh produce will be exempt until 2025.

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The production and sale of plastic bags that are less than 0.025 mm thick will also be banned.

The restaurant industry must reduce the use of single-use plastic items by 30 per cent, the Commission said.

Hotels have been told that they must not offer free single-use plastic items by 2025.

China has for years been struggling to deal with the rubbish its 1.4 billion citizens generate.

The country’s largest rubbish dump – the size of around 100 football fields – is already full, 25 years ahead of schedule.

In 2017 alone, China collected 215 million tonnes of urban household waste. But national figures for recycling are not available.

China produced 60 million tonnes of plastic waste in 2010, followed by the US at 38 million tonnes, the BBC report quoted online publication ‘Our World in Data’ based at the University of Oxford, as saying.

Meanwhile, China is not the only country in Asia that has cracked down against single-use plastics.

Thailand announced earlier this year that single-use plastic bags would be banned in major stores, with a complete ban across the entire country in 2021, while Indonesia’s capital Jakarta was also banning single-use plastic bags in department stores, supermarkets and traditional markets by June 2020.

Malaysia has sent back 150 shipping containers of illegally imported plastic waste back to their countries of origin.

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