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Much can be done to curb plastic pollution

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-24 07:38

The European Commission recently issued A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy. Beijing News comments:

The milestone document, the first of its kind for the European Union, sets the target that all plastic packaging materials should be recyclable in the European market, and more than half of plastic waste should be recycled for reuse by 2030.

The United Kingdom and Germany have implemented stricter rules to increase the recycle rate of plastic products and wastes, which is in line with the document's requirement.

To curb its worsening plastics pollution, China can learn from this. China banned the production, sales and use of plastic bags thinner than 0.025 millimeters, which are more undurable and constitute the main pollutants, a decade ago in a bid control environmental pollution.

But statistics show both the use and dumping of plastic products, particularly plastic bags used for express food deliveries, have increased rapidly ever since.

As a long-time leader and active supporter of environmental protection causes, the European Union has set a good example to the rest of the world. As one of the largest consumers of plastic products, China has huge potential to upgrade its policies restricting the production and use of plastic bags.

China's ban on ultra-thin plastic bags issued 10 years ago, which has still influenced the thinking of policymakers today on the issue, emphasized ending production of the banned plastic products. But the experience over the past decade shows that the sale and the use of the banned plastic bags have never ceased, and instead production has been stimulated, turning the ban into a cat-and-mouse game between the policy enforcers and workshop owners in the countryside.

China should not only reduce the production of plastic daily necessities, but also raise the people's awareness of the problem of plastic pollution. All parties should make efforts to reduce the use of plastic bags.

Specifically, reduction at source, reuse, and recycling are the basic principles for solving the problem of plastic waste and pollution.

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