China to step up fight against plastic addiction

May 29, 2011
China will expand a ban on free shopping bags, state media said, as it tries to further curb its addiction to plastic in a bid to rid the country of "white pollution" that clogs waterways, farms and fields. Bookstores and pharmacies nationwide will soon be forbidden to give out free plastic bags, joining the ranks of supermarkets that have had to charge for shopping bags since June 2008.

China will expand a ban on free shopping bags, state media said, as it tries to further curb its addiction to plastic in a bid to rid the country of "white pollution" that clogs waterways, farms and fields.

Bookstores and pharmacies nationwide will soon be forbidden to give out free plastic bags, joining the ranks of supermarkets that have had to charge for shopping bags since June 1, 2008, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

On that day, China also banned the production, sale and use of ultra-thin plastic bags, becoming one of only a few nations around the world to take such tough measures.

Quoting Zhao Jiarong, deputy secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, the report said the government would also step up its crackdown on the illegal use of plastic bags.

But she did not say when bookstores and pharmacies would have to start charging for the bags they give out.

China -- the world's biggest emitter -- has some of the world's worst water and after rapid growth over more than 30 years triggered widespread .

Around three billion plastic bags were being used daily in China before the 2008 ban. Since then, according to the NDRC, people have used at least 24 billion fewer every year, the report said late Saturday.

Dong Jinshi, vice chairman of the International Association in Beijing, told AFP late last year that as many as 100 billion plastic shopping bags may have been kept out of landfills as a result of the law.

Explore further: China's new 'Great Wall' not so great, hurting wetlands, economy

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User comments : 7

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BloodSpill
5 / 5 (5) May 29, 2011
China, it's a strange place.. nearly 2 billion people all suddenly changing their way of living with each new decree.

All the little countries meander around. Does anyone feel that we sort of need a little of China's bluntness from time to time?
Bob_Kob
not rated yet May 29, 2011
Its not going to work well. I see another russia developing. On the outside it seems they are strong but their shortcuts are eroding their supports.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) May 29, 2011
China, it's a strange place.. nearly 2 billion people all suddenly changing their way of living with each new decree.

Well that's not really true. You have to realize that the majority of people in China aren't adopting the newer lifestyles right off the bat. Those that are, are typically only a decade into the more industrial lifestyle, meaning there's a lot more room for innovation and change of course.

The totalitarian government and oppression of the people in the industrial lifestyles also allows the government to make life changing decrees. I don't agree with this last part of the methodology.
Beard
5 / 5 (1) May 29, 2011
The ban of free plastic bags only reduced usage by two percent. Better than nothing I suppose.
Gilbert
2.3 / 5 (3) May 29, 2011
China has managed to remain largely developed, with an absurd population and relatively low pollution for it's economic size. If everyone in china lived the exact way that people in the united states do, the world would have run out of food, ozone would have been depleted and carbon and pollution would have completely flooded the atmosphere by now. China is advantaged in that they can identify a problem and act immediately to fix it. every western nation has to spend at least 3 years talking about the problem, then another 1-10 years to hold an inquiry into the problem, and then another 1-20 years to implement a plan to solve the problem. They must look at us and go "WTF?!"
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) May 30, 2011
I would take this report with extreme caution. China is not known to hand out very accurate numbers about itself, and pollution is one of the worst topics in that regard. Take, for example, the stuff we catch them using in household goods and then have to bann, like lead in child toys. They know they aren't supposed to be sending that crap here, but they do it till we catch them, despite their claims that they are strictly enforcing the prohibition of those dangerous products. Also, I am very skeptical that a small increase in price would have much of an effect on the number of bags they're using. If it was me, I'd still use them if they cost an extra few cents.
Tskilex
not rated yet May 30, 2011
All the little countries meander around. Does anyone feel that we sort of need a little of China's bluntness from time to time?

You may want to rethink your opinion on this.
The law only reduced usage by 2%, probably because it is as laxly enforced as most other domestic regulations that aren't related to possible threats to China's "national harmony" and its government.
Some European countries have enacted similar laws and managed to curb plastic-bag usage by around 90%.

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