China plans to ban the production of certain single-use plastic items by the end of this year to curb the amount of waste clogging the country’s landfills and waterways.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the country aims to gradually limit the production, use, and sale of single-use plastic items — from plastic bags to delivery packages — while also promoting alternative means to improve the recycling rate of plastic and reduce the amount of plastic sent to landfills.
This is seen as a “milestone policy” which will replace the previous 2008 plastic ban and set new five-year goals of combating plastic pollution.
China is the world’s largest plastics producer and exporter, accounting for over one-quarter of global plastic production in 2018. However, due to high consumption and low recycling and waste-management efforts, plastic waste often ends up polluting the land and sea.
Plastic bags will be banned in all of China’s major cities by the end of 2020 and in all cities and towns in 2022! The new guideline also reinforces a blanket ban on importing any type of foreign plastic waste.
However, the stress on encouraging individuals to use biodegradable plastic, rather than reducing plastic use, would only hurt the environment in the long run.
Biodegradable plastics can break down into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass through a specialized treatment process, but experts say China doesn’t have enough treatment facilities.
If improperly disposed of, biodegradable plastics can damage the environment.
Reference- breakfreefromplastic.org, NDRC website, Statista.com