I am really happy to see China ban free plastic bags. Great idea that was long in coming. Since people will now have to pay for plastic, many will think twice before throwing them down everywhere. In this same light, why not get REALLY progressive and actually make a national littering law! What a concept. Enforce and fine people for not placing trash where it belongs. That might change the Chinese thinking!
That's an interesting idea except the that the rule of law does not prevail in China. Since their is no accountability of the governors to the governed, corruption and incompetence are the norm and not the rare exception. When there is no consequence for not doing one's job, where cronyism is institutionalized as "guanxi" simply adding another rule to the rule books will amount to wishful thinking. Have you ever read the English translation of the constitution of the PRC? It's nothing more than a pipe dream with no basis in reality,
Unfortunately you are right Ahmet. Chinese laws have little to no respect by the majority of the citizens. It is still a sad commentary that even sans laws, people do not have enough pride for their own city or natural environment to do the right thing in this respect. I have to believe it is more of an education issue. In comparison to say Thailand, where even villages with dirt streets are clean and you never find people throwing trash about. I can't understand why anybody prefers to live amongst the filth they generate. It is also strange that all over China, there are few public trash cans available in parks, city streets or even tourist sights. I've had to carry my trash around a long time before I could find a receptacle to place it in. This blame has to fall on city govt. I would like to see Kunming invest in more trash cans and set an example, being such a major tourist destination for China. Perhaps it start to carry over to other cities in China. I've noticed in places where there were trash cans about, there was a noticeable difference in the amount of trash lying around. The city could even sponsor advertising on the cans to defray the costs. Car washes should give free car trash bags similar to car washes in the US.
I think it won't be long before you will see less plastic bags in the river but a lot more debris floating freely. Which is better?
You have both hit the nail on the head with your comments. With no accountability, rules count for very little - unless of course you are a foreigner!
With regard to the new regulations to plastic bags, why not just go that one step further and ban the sale of all plastic bags. Inconvenient? Yes! but it would not take long for people to learn to carry a bag with them, after all they always find space for 'umbrella's' - LOL :_)
Perhaps go back to the days of paper bags for groceries, after all America did it that way for long enough. Plastic bags are a real blight on the world.
mmmm, rant over!!
Unfortunately paper bags aren't the answer either.
There's an extensive debate on this and its undecided which has a greater environmental impact.
Reusable bags seem to be the way forward.
I understand where all of your pessimism stems from, but come on now... embrace this new law instead of anticipating its failure. It's a pretty amazing thing to be discussed at such a high level of government let alone make a law like this. I'm presently in Dali and even the smallest of xiao mai bu on the outside of town are not giving out plastic bags. I consider that a relative success no matter what the future holds for this law.
I always used my "free" plastic bags as bin liners. Now I need to buy bin liners instead. :-(
I was pretty concerned when I first heard about this new law so imagine my pleasure upon discovering that you can still buy plastic bags in Carrefour for as little as 2 mao. I resent having to pay to pollute but luckily it's pretty cheap.
I handed over the exact money for a meal at Dicos yesterday to be told the little takeaway bag was an extra 3 mao. So now I'm swimming in small change! Seems petty to me - who brings their own bag to a takeaway restaurant? Add an extra yuan to the price if you must, but the little hidden extra cost is annoying.
Wow, well there you go. The system fails because of people afraid of small change and bringing bags to take out restaurants. If this is how most people feel, the state of the world makes that much more sense to me now. Thanks for the 'toolish' insight.