Southwest China's Yunnan Province set a model for the country to definitely ban the production, sales and use of plastic bags from the first day of 2009.
Shoppers were prepared for the ban, as the provincial government announced the ban in all supermarkets, department stores, shopping outlets, hotels and restaurants as early as June, 2008.
The ban is much stricter than the national requirement on restricting the production and use of plastic bags thinner than the 0.025 mm. Elsewhere in the country, shops are allowed to offer environment-friendly shopping bags, either free or charged.
The confidence of Yunnan to go ahead with the thorough ban is largely associated with its pilot practices on the ban in Shangri-La and Lijiang, two scenery areas in the province, which had fully banned the use of plastic bags for years.
In 2001, Shangri-La, also known in some guidebooks by its old name Zhongdian, the most beautiful and unstained place in northwest Yunnan, forbid the use of plastic bags. It became the first place in the country to ban plastic bags.
Most residents in Yunnan have adapted their habits on using plastic bags to other containers made of clothes or bamboo braids. Some people said they were proud of Yunnan's model role in protecting the environment.
(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2009)