A campaign was launched in Beijing yesterday to fight "white
pollution" by reducing the use of plastic carrier bags.
Volunteers will distribute environment-friendly cloth bags at
Ito Yokado and Lotus Center supermarkets over the next two
More than 15,000 of the reusable bags will be distributed, the
equivalent of 7.5 million plastic bags, according to project
Behind the initiative are China Charity Federation, Beijing
Committee of China Communist Youth League, Beijing Volunteers
Association and World Vision China.
"If people use a cloth bag at a supermarket for shopping, they
can probably reuse it up to 500 times," Wang Chao, vice-director of
World Vision China, said.
Statistics from the organization indicate that the Chinese use 2
billion plastic bags every day.
"In the five supermarkets of Ito Yokado in Beijing, we will send
out 100,000 bags of different sizes every day," said Shen Yingying,
from the supermarket.
Some customers have already started bringing their own cloth
bags with them to carry their shopping home.
"I have used the cloth bags for three or four years," said Wang
Ying, a resident in Beijing.
"And cashiers in supermarkets are fine about it when I use my
However, a mass conversion to the use of cloth bags is unlikely
to happen quickly.
"Plastic bags offer great convenience to consumers," said
another resident, surnamed Sun. "My family use the plastic bags
from supermarkets as garbage bags."
Wang Yue, from Beijing Committee of China Communist Youth
League, said: "It is a step by step process."
"The government should play a role by developing policies to
reduce the use of plastic bags, such as levying taxation on such
products," Wang said.
Other measures to try to protect the environment have already
been taken by supermarkets in the capital. Wal-Mart, for example,
uses biodegradable plastic bags at their outlets.
(China Daily January 11, 2006)