According to the United Nations, plastic is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face as a global collective. With micro-plastics posing a threat to the food, water, and air supply, it doesn’t take an expert to see how plastic waste affects the world at large. In a recent announcement, China phases to ban plastic bags by the end of 2020. This is a huge step forward for a country housing up to 1.4 billion people.
New policy issued by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment states plastic bags will be banned across all major cities by the end of 2020. It was also announced the ban will apply to smaller cities in towns by 2020. However, any markets selling fresh produce will have until 2025 to comply with the plastic bag ban.
China also plans on banning plastic straws in restaurants by the end of 2020.
China to Follow Through
While this is exciting news for a sustainable future, it is the responsibility of lawmakers to enforce this authority. For example, China had set out on an anti-plastic campaign in 2008. Businesses were banned from giving out free plastic bags. However, enforcement wasn’t holding themselves accountable and the campaign ultimately did not succeed. It is possible that China is applying lessons from the past as they move forward towards a greener planet.
“We are already unable to cope with the amount of plastic waste we generate unless we rethink the way we manufacture, use and manage plastics. Ultimately, tackling one of the biggest environmental scourges of our time will require governments to regulate, businesses to innovate and individuals to act.” according to the United Nations.
We’re a little more than halfway through the first month of the decade. As China phases to ban plastic bags by the end of 2020, cooperation between governments and citizens will dictate the trajectory of the outcome. Recycling rates have already been boosted in China and the rest is yet to unfold. The sleeping dragon is breathing into a new age of environmental sustainability.
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