Plastic Bag Ban
So, I grabbed a newspaper yesterday on the flight back from Xi'an and found an interesting article. I think we were all dumbfounded the first time we got charged for a plastic bag. Well, come to find out, in China there is a ban on free plastic bags. This was done to save energy and protect the planet. So far, the initiative seems to be working. In 2006, 50 billion bags were used, consuming about two million tons of oil. In 2007, 60 billion bags were used consuming 2.4 million tons of oil. The ban was enacted in 2008 and usage dropped to 20 billion bags and .8 million tons of oil. Wal-Mart alone reports distributing eighty percent fewer bags in its 106 stores. The ban is working and people have adjusted to it and either bring their own or make do without. The State Administration of Industry and Commerce is the enforcement agency and non-compliance is costly. Retailers caught giving free plastic bags are subject to fines up to $10,000 yuan (about $1,500). I like to see that China is taking action to reduce oil consumption and become more green. There are other incentives, like tax breaks for vehicles with motors under a certain size. The Chinese economy and industry have come so far in the last twenty years. Cars are becoming more and more common. A close eye needs to be kept on pollution and these levels need to be kept in check to help the environment.