Sanghai: China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide gas, will ban retailers from giving free plastic shopping bags to consumers starting in June to curb waste and reduce pollution.
The excessive use of plastic bags has become a “serious” waste of resources and source of pollution, China’s State Council, the country’s cabinet, said on Tuesday in a statement on its website.
Strict norms: Consumers in China will have to pay for plastic shopping bags at supermarkets and other retail stores from 1 June as the nation steps up efforts to fight plastic pollution.
Production of ultra-thin plastic bags measuring less than 0.025mm thick will also be banned starting June, the statement said.
China has increased environmental protection efforts by blocking companies that break waste discharge limits from exporting and calling on banks to restrict lending to polluters.
The rising pollution has fuelled an increase in public protests, the official Xinhua News Agency reported in July.
Retailers must clearly display the price of plastic bags and may not include the cost in the price of merchandise, the state council said. Tax officials will study measures to discourage the production of plastic bags and encourage recycling, the council said.
Pollution and waste in China had become “grim”, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had told government officials in July.
According to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, China passed the US in 2006 to become the world’s biggest source of carbon dioxide gas from burning fossil fuels and producing cement.