China is stepping up restrictions on the production, sale and use of single-use plastic products, the state planner said on Sunday, as it seeks to tackle one of the country’s biggest environmental problems. The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, which issued the new policy, said plastic bags will be banned in all of China’s major cities by the end of 2020 and banned in all cities and towns in 2022. Markets selling fresh produce will be exempt from the ban until 2025. By end of 2020, the restaurant industry will be banned from using single-use straws. By 2025, towns and cities across China must reduce the consumption of single-use plastic items in the restaurant industry by 30%.
Starting from this year, the ban will be observed in 332 conservation areas in the Yangtze River basin, which will also be expanded to all natural waterways of the river and its major tributaries from no later than Jan. 1, 2021. Fishing will also be prohibited on natural waterways of large lakes connected to the Yangtze such as the Dongting Lake and Poyang Lake for 10 years starting from no later than Jan. 1, 2021.