China has announced a 5-year action plan to fight plastic
It’s the world’s largest producer of plastic pollution, but China has decided to cut down on single-use items. Here is its plan.
The world’s largest producer of plastic pollution has decided to take action
China has just announced a 5-year action plan to cut down on single-use plastics. Among the decisions taken by China: plastic bags should be phased out by the end of 2020 in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing. This measure is also planned for smaller cities by the end of 2022. Similarly, restaurants have until 2025 to reduce their use of single-use plastics by 30%. Plastic straws will also be banned there as of this year.
This ambitious plan is addressing one of the main environmental issues that China is currently facing. In 2010, the country produced 60 million tons of plastic, more than in any other country. Overall, China produces about 29% of the world’s plastics. And given its population of 1.4 billion, this plastic has a major impact on infrastructures and the environment.
For example, the Yangtze River is the main conduit for the transport of plastic pollution to the world’s oceans. Another example, the country’s largest landfill, located in the city of Xi’an, was designed to last until 2044. However, it reached its maximum capacity in 2019, receiving 4 times the anticipated amount of waste each day. In 2017, China had already announced an ambitious initiative to fight pollution: a ban on the imports of waste from foreign countries.