China is the largest developing country in the world. In order to achieve sustainable development, it has taken the development of circular economy as a major strategy for national economic and social development. China attaches great importance to the treatment of plastic pollution, always goes all out, fully implements the concept of circular economy, controls disposable plastic products that are easy to leak to the environment at the source of production and consumption with the depth and breadth of the whole chain, and increases recycling efforts at the waste plastic recycling and disposal end to effectively prevent plastic waste from leaking to the environment, building the world's most complete plastic circular economy development system, It has achieved remarkable development results and become a responsible major country in the global plastic pollution control.
China is the first country in the world to restrict disposable plastic products.
As early as 2001, China issued a policy to stop the production of disposable foam plastic tableware. In 2008, China completely prohibited the production, sale and use of plastic shopping bags with a thickness of less than 0.025 mm, and implemented a paid use system for plastic shopping bags in all supermarkets, shopping malls, fairs and other retail places. However, the same policy was implemented in the UK, France, Italy and some US states in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2017, which is about ten years behind China. In 2020, China will introduce a new plastic pollution control policy, expanding the source reduction policy to more disposable plastic products such as the addition of plastic beads, the elimination of disposable non degradable plastic straws, and covering more than most countries and regions.
At present, China is the country with the most remarkable effect in recycling waste plastics in the world.
China has long recognized that plastics, like iron and steel, non-ferrous metals and other materials, have good recyclability. When waste plastics are effectively recycled and disposed, plastic pollution will not occur. Therefore, plastic itself cannot be equated with pollutants. The essence of plastic pollution is the environmental leakage after plastic use and waste.
China focuses on the key link of environmental leakage at the end of plastic pollution and increases the recycling of plastic waste. As early as 1989, China issued a policy document on strengthening the management of plastic packaging waste in key transportation trunk lines, river basins and tourist attractions to prevent plastic packaging waste from accumulating in rivers, lakes and coastal areas. Through years of efforts, China has gradually built a waste plastic recycling system covering the whole society. According to the estimation of relevant industry associations, in 2021, the material recovery of waste plastics in China will be about 19 million tons, the material recovery rate will reach 31%, 1.74 times the global average, and 100% of the domestic material recovery will be achieved. In the same period, the local material recovery rates of the United States, the European Union and Japan were only 5.31%, 17.18% and 12.50% respectively. In addition, the domestic waste removal rate in China's cities and towns has basically reached 100%, and the coverage of the domestic waste disposal system in administrative villages has exceeded 90%. Actively promote the energy recovery of plastic waste that cannot be used as materials for the time being. The energy utilization rate has reached 45.7%, which is also in the forefront of the world.
China not only strives to solve its own problems, but also makes positive contributions to global plastic pollution control.
China adheres to the local recycling and disposal system of waste plastics, and has solved the problem of plastic pollution in China. It has never transferred plastic waste to other countries and regions, and has also helped other countries and regions actively deal with the threat posed by plastic waste. In the 10 years from 2011 to 2020 alone, China has realized the material recycling of 170 million tons of various waste plastics, becoming the largest single economy of waste plastics recycling in the world and the backbone leading the development of the global plastic recycling economy. As a co lead country, the Technical Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management of Plastic Wastes was revised to promote the international plastic pollution control process. Since 2019, the Chinese government has also continued to increase the training of plastic pollution response capacity of developing countries, including plastic recycling economy and plastic pollution control into foreign aid training programs, and has trained more than 1000 government officials from more than 30 developing countries, making positive contributions to the improvement of plastic pollution control capacity of countries.
China's experience in dealing with plastic pollution control will provide some reference for global plastic pollution control.
Through the practice of plastic pollution control in China, we can see that: first, as a material, plastic itself cannot be equated with pollutants. The essence of plastic pollution is plastic environmental leakage; Second, the whole life cycle treatment of plastic pollution is an important means to effectively prevent the leakage of plastic environment. By limiting the addition of plastic beads and the production of specific disposable non degradable plastic products at the source, China has promoted the replacement of disposable plastic products in the consumption process, strengthened the recycling, disposal and utilization of discarded plastic, built a governance system covering the whole life cycle of plastic, and established producers, users The responsibility sharing and cooperative co governance system of emitters ensures the effective treatment of plastic pollution; Third, the construction of a sound end collection and disposal system for plastic waste is a key link in the prevention and control of plastic pollution, because it can directly prevent plastic waste from leaking into the environment and is the most priority measure for plastic pollution control; Fourth, the use and promotion of various alternative products need scientific comparative analysis. The technical feasibility, economy, popularization, applicability, and comprehensive environmental impact of various alternative products need scientific comparative analysis, and on this basis, they should be promoted in an orderly manner. Otherwise, they will not only be beneficial to the treatment of plastic pollution, but also bring new confusion to the economic system and ecosystem.
At present, the problem of plastic pollution has become the focus of global attention. It has brought great challenges to global sustainable development, and has become a common topic faced by all countries and regions. In the future, China will always adhere to the concept of "a community with a shared future for mankind", adhere to the principle of "common but differentiated", continue to be a leader and contributor to global plastic pollution control, and work together with other countries and regions to promote the construction of a new development pattern of plastics and harmonious coexistence between man and nature.
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