In a shocking move, China, one of the largest sources of plastic pollution in the world, has announced measures to phase out the production and sale of single-use plastic items. According to the country’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, plastic bags will be banned in all of China’s major cities by the end of the year, and then banned in smaller cities and towns by 2020. However, markets that sell fresh produce will be exempt from the ban until 2025.
It is not just plastic bags, other single-use items like straws, plastic utensils, and plastic food containers will also be phased out. The Chinese government hopes to reduce the consumption of plastic items in the country by 30% in the next 5 years.
According to The Guardian, plastic bags that are less than 0.025mm thick will be banned, along with plastic film that is less than 0.01mm thick.
China is said to be the largest consumer of plastic waste in the world, representing 28% of the global total, followed by 10% in Indonesia, and 6% for both the Philippines and Vietnam. However, it is important to note that until recently, many of these countries purchased large volumes of plastic waste from western countries, much of which ended up as waste once again.
In 2018, China banned the import of plastic waste, which recycling companies in western nations have been selling them for years. The year before the ban took effect, Chinese citizens and corporations generated 67 million tons of plastic trash, and they imported an additional 8.1 million tons on top of that.
According to a 2017 study, around 90 percent of single-use plastic that pollutes our oceans comes from 10 rivers, 6 of which are in China.
According to a report published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, if the current rate of plastic pollution continues, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish by the year 2050.
Earlier this year, Truth Theory reported on a disturbing study which found that we are absorbing tens of thousands of plastic particles each year, just in the food we eat and the air that we breathe. It was also noted in the study, that drinking a lot of bottled water can nearly double the presence of toxins in our bodies.
IMAGE FEATURED: Tudor Antonel Adrian