China has unveiled ambitious plans to drastically reduce single-use plastics by 2025. China's National Development and Reform Commission is fast-tracking number of measures designed to slash production and use of plastics over next five years. It announced that by end of 2020, non-biodegradable plastic bags will be banned in supermarkets and shopping malls in major cities. ban will also apply to food delivery services, which use vast amounts of plastics. Single-use plastic straws and cutlery used by food takeaway services will be banned nationwide by end of this year. China will encourage use of alternative materials such as non-plastic products and biodegradable shopping bags.
Single-use plastics are one of world's biggest sources of plastic pollution. They have become ubiquitous part of daily life and part of our throwaway culture. The Chinese authorities set goal of reducing "intensity of consumption" in order to reverse our reliance on single-use plastics. Previous regulations to curb plastic use, in 2008, led to estimated cut in plastic bag production of 67 billion bags. United Nations said it is urgent that all countries adopt policies similar to those China is introducing. It said: "We are already unable to cope with amount of plastic waste we generate, unless we rethink way we manufacture, use and manage plastics."