(Natural News) Plastic pollution seems to be a commonality among many developed and developing nations. After all, many normal everyday objects are made out of plastic. When you go to the grocery store, you can take the grocery items you paid for in a plastic bag. When you eat out at restaurants, you drink your soda or tea with a plastic straw. And you use plastic spoons and forks to eat, at that.
All of this is to say that plastic is a pollutant that seems to affect pretty much everybody. Now Taiwan wants to make a difference in how it treats plastic by instituting a nationwide plastic ban by the year 2030. It has already started taking all of the prerequisite steps today.
In a public announcement, government officials in Taiwan announced that it plans to issue a blanket ban on single-use plastic products by 2030. Restaurants will also be given stricter rules for operation starting in 2019, according to a report.
According to a roadmap created by Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), its citizens should no longer be able to use plastic straws for their drinks by next year, as major chain restaurants will be forced to stop providing them. And what’s more, consumers in Taiwan will need to shell out extra cash to pay for all straws, plastic bags, plastic cups, and plastic utensils that they want to use from 2025 onwards.
Lai Ying-ying, one of the EPA officials in charge of the nationwide project, said in a statement that they are looking to minimize the harmful effects of plastic use not just on the environment but also on the Taiwanese people themselves. “We aim to implement a blanket ban by 2030,” she said, “to significantly reduce plastic waste that pollutes the ocean and also gets into the food chain and affect human health.”
Lai further noted that in Taiwan, the average person ends up using up to 700 plastic bags every year. Based on EPA targets, the country plants to knock this level of usage down to just 100 by 2025, and then to end the practice completely by the time the blanket ban goes into effort five years later, in 2030.
Currently, the Taiwanese government has an active ban on free plastic bags in major shopping malls, convenience stores, and supermarkets. They are also planning to expand the coverage of this ban to include smaller operations such as drink kiosks and bakeries starting this year.
Other efforts of the island to fight back against plastic pollutants include a recycling project that has been ongoing for more than 10 years now. In 2017, it is said that almost 200,000 metric tons of plastic containers were recycled in the country, according to the EPA. Expect that number to rise as the country pushes even harder throughout the next 10 years.
In the United States, similar efforts are already underway. California became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags back in 2016, and as early as then it already started to reap the benefits. Plastic bags are a well-known cause of many environmental disasters, killing sea animals while also putting millions of people at risk every single day.
It may be hard to get rid of the plastic that’s already in circulation, but the next best thing that people can do is to simply stop using it altogether. That way, the only problem left would be how to best take care of the plastic that’s already out in the world.
Learn more about ongoing clean-up efforts in Pollution.news.