The world’s biggest plastic user, China, will be carrying out a massive plan in 2020 to ban single-use plastics in all major cities by the end of the year.
China produced 215 million tonnes of urban household waste in 2017 and 60 million tonnes of plastic in 2010, according to an Oxford study published in 2018. In a report by BBC, it was revealed that the country with 1.4 billion citizens will be banning single-use plastic bags and containers in major cities by the end of 2020, and in smaller cities and rural areas by 2022.
The National Development and Reform Commission revealed the five-year plan on Sunday, with the entire country set to abandon single-use plastics across the board by 2022, while fresh produce markets will be exempt until 2025. However, from now on, bags that are less than 0.025mm thick will be banned – which follows the 2008 policy decision to ban ultra-thin bags.
Hotels and restaurants will also be obliged to reduce their plastic usage by 30%, along with a ban on single-use straws. Instead, retailers and the hospitality industry will have to serve customers with bio-degradable bags and other products.
To put China’s problems into perspective, its largest rubbish dump (the size of 100 football fields), has been filled 25 years ahead of schedule.
This follows action taken by several countries in Asia, such as Thailand, which will ban single-use plastics by 2021, and Indonesia, with capital city Jakarta banning it by June this year and the island of Bali also planning a similar ban.
Considering the sheer size of these nations and the degree to which they produce plastic waste, this is a massive step towards a future where plastic waste is no longer prevalent around the world. Beyond that, it could have a knock-on effect in other parts of the world, such as the United States – the world’s second largest plastic waste producer (38 million tonnes).