Well ... its a start! From Sunday the ultra thin plastic bags, that one sees everywhere in China, are illegal. These really thin bags are the type people throw away after one use. They are a big part of visible litter on streets, beaches, fields, streams, etc. causing 'white pollution'. The authorities are cleaning up their act before the Olympics and perhaps they have also realised how 3 billion plastic bags a day can contribute to destroying the environment.
China on Sunday became the latest country to declare war on plastic bags in a drive to save energy and protect the environment. Under new regulations, flimsy bags under 0.025 millimeters thick are banned and shopkeepers must charge for carrier bags. Those found breaking the law face fines and could have their goods confiscated. Shoppers in downtown Beijing and in Internet chatrooms seemed largely sympathetic to the idea. Sceptics say the fate of the initiative will depend on how diligent police and inspectors are in enforcing the law.
China, which consumes 37 million barrels of crude oil each year to manufacture more than one trillion plastic bags, is following in the footsteps of countries such as Ireland, Rwanda and Bangladesh. Italy is due to introduce a ban by 2010. (Reuters)