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Talk Back: Changing bags, changing attitudes
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08:56, January 10, 2008

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From June 1, all shops and supermarkets will be banned from giving away free plastic bags.

And according to media website Sina.com yesterday, 60 percent of the 84,000 people who took part in a recent poll said the ban will greatly affect their lives.

Thirty-six percent said the ban will have little impact, while the rest said they are not sure.

When asked if they will use a cloth bag instead of plastic ones, 52 percent said they will, while 22 percent said they will stick with plastic, even if they have to pay.

From June 1, all carrier bags must be clearly priced, and the government has said the production of ultra-thin plastic bags will be banned.

Chinese people use about 3 billion plastic bags a day and 37 million barrels of crude oil must be refined every year to make plastic bags.

Some supermarkets in the capital, such as Dia Mart, stopped giving out free plastic bags months ago. They charge 0.1 yuan for each bag.

"Discarded plastic bags can be seen everywhere, which is a direct result of them being given out free by shops.

"People don't care about the consequences of such garbage because the bags are free.

"In the past, people used cloth bags or baskets for their vegetables, so we should encourage them to return to that practice. However, it's not something that can be done overnight."

Zeng Suisheng, an official of the Shenzhen legislative affairs office

"This issue of having to pay for plastic bags is maddening. What will people use to carry wet items?

"And does paying 0.1 yuan give you the right to pollute the environment? If so, does that mean that some people have more right to pollute the environment with the bags than others?

"Using such a method is taking the easy way out. Education is the key to solving the problem."

Lan Man, a netizen

"With the ban, the use of plastic bags is expected to go down by two-thirds nationwide - based on the similar experiences of countries such as Japan, South Korea and France.

"This is a very good policy, but the government needs to come up with possible alternatives for plastic bags."

Dong Jinshi, vice-president of the plastic recycling committee under China's Plastic Association

"We provide free, degradable plastic bags which cost us dearly every year. But even biodegradable bags take 50 years to decompose, so they are not completely green.

"In future, we will position ourselves in line with State policy and provide environmentally friendly bags."

Fu Yu, a store manager with the Wumart Group

Source: China Daily

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