There’s a global program against single-use plastics, particularly straw and plastic bags. A lot of countries have changed regulations in allowing to use or eliminate them totally. Along with endangering marine life, we also fear that plastic waste will be harmful for our health. Indeed, it can be a part of food chains in many ways which you cannot image. For example, plastic is broken and ends in the ocean. Then, fishes eat food and both “micro plastic” in the water. Next, the micro plastic already on your dining table with the aromatic fish dishes. Hence, getting more and more countries plan to have new regulations is understandable. However, why do we still see widespread plastic pollution after a series of efforts of plastic ban? Here are a few reasons for this situation.
There are not many countries taking control the lifecycle of plastic totally. Among countries released plastic ban, just 55 countries actually manage from manufacture to the retail distribution, recycling of plastic bags. If they don’t forbid to produce plastic bags, it means supplying sources still can do a mass vacuum. For instance, China bans to import plastics and asks that retailers charge users for plastic bags, but does not clearly restrict their production or exportation. In Ecuador, they only regulate the handling of plastic bags, but not their importation, manufacturing and retail.
Almost countries offer partial bans instead of full bans. Partial bans can have some requirements on thickness of plastic bags. A range of thicknesses will be listed in their regulations. For example, In some countries, such as France, India, Italy. In fact, they do not have a complete ban on all plastic bags, but they prohibit or tax plastic bags of less than 50 microns.
Limitation of manufacturing plastic bags is a good method to reduce supplying source to the market. However, almost no countries in the world do this. There is only one country did it – that is Cape Verde. This country not only set out a percentage of reduction on plastic bag production, but also involve clear production limits. Specifically, they started from 60% in 2015 and increased to 100% in 2016, when the plastic ban began to effect. Until now, people just use only biodegradable plastic bags.
25 countries among 91 have plastic bans including exemptions. This has created a gap for the importation as well as production of plastic bags in smaller quantities. For example, Cambodia allows to import of small volumes (less than 100 kg) of plastic bags for non-commercial purposes. Fourteen African countries have clear exemptions in their plastic bag bans. Exemptions may relate to certain activities or typical products. The most common exemptions include handling and transporting fresh food or used for scientific and medical research. Other exemptions may allow plastic bags for some activities related to national security or agriculture purpose.
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