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More Efforts Are Required to Recycle Plastic Waste and Curb White Pollution


More Efforts Are Required to Recycle Plastic Waste and Curb White Pollution

By Zhou Hongchun, DRC


Plastic pollution is a global environmental issue. Against such a backdrop, the 2018 World Environment Day has been themed as “Curbing Plastic Pollution”. In view of the plastic pollution in China, the author puts forward eight policy options as follows, calling for more efforts to turn plastic waste into resources and curb white pollution in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. First, the government needs to reduce the production and use of disposable plastic products such as plastic bags at the source. It needs to improve the top-level design by reducing plastic production and expanding the scope to curb the marketing of disposable plastic products. It needs to prohibit the use of low-quality plastic products, control the total volume of production and increase the number of unpacked stores. It needs to set goals and schedules to reduce plastic trash and work out practical plans to encourage people to use less disposable plastic products. Second, the government needs to hold the plastic producers accountable and press ahead with the classification and recycling of plastic waste. It needs to formulate preferential policies to improve the recycling rate and volume of plastic waste, hold the producers accountable and encourage enterprises to build recycling systems so as to reduce the costs of recycling. Third, the government needs to improve the added value of products made with recycled plastic waste via technological progress. It needs to improve the ecological design, stretch the industrial chain and promote the sophisticated and advanced technologies. It needs to build enclosed zones to manage and supervise the recycling enterprises, improve the technological level of recycling and make the industry develop in an orderly manner. Fourth, the government needs to make environment-based evaluation on the fields in which the degradable plastic products could be used. It needs to clarify the definition of degradable plastic products, launch systematic research on degradable materials and find out the fields in which different degradable plastic products could be used. It needs to replace express packages with environment-friendly materials through R&D and make lifecycle evaluations on the environmental and social impact of degradable plastic products. Fifth, the government needs to formulate incentive and disincentive policies to promote recycling and solve the problems caused by plastic pollution. Viewing from the macro perspective, it needs to make comparative research on the policies supporting plastic waste recycling and trash burning. On the micro side, the government needs to levy taxes on the production and consumption of plastic bags. Sixth, the government needs to strengthen the supervision and management to avoid pollution caused by plastic waste recycling. It needs to make more efforts to curb plastic pollution and supervise the implementation of the “Notice on restricting the production and sale of plastic shopping bags” issued by the government. Seventh, the government needs to enhance its administrative power to curb white pollution and improve people’s awareness on the difficulty of addressing plastic pollution. It needs to encourage the enterprises to recycle plastic waste into usable materials or turn the waste into power before implementing innocent treatment. It needs to formulate incentive and disincentive policies to curb plastic pollution and improve people’s awareness of the harm caused by white pollution through publicity and education. Eighth, the government needs to make cooperation with other countries to curb white pollution and turn the waste into power. The plastic pollution has posed a challenge to the whole world. Therefore, China needs to taken a positive attitude toward the cooperation with other countries in turning plastic waste into resources. Curbing white pollution will not only improve the global environment, especially the oceanic environment, but also contribute to the transformation of China’s economic development mode and the enhancement of China’s international influence.