While once-pristine beaches around the tropics are becoming infamous for their plastic litter, Hainan’s Chinese island province has just created a plan to maintain the cleanliness of its beaches.
Cities like Haikou and Sanya are ground zero for an ambitious plan for controlling plastic pollution, which started in August when single-use plastic items were banned from sale in the area.
Plastic polymer forks, straws, food containers, drink cups, packaging bags, knives, plastic bags, as well as other items that are not biodegradable cannot be sold at major establishments such as hospitals, supermarkets, state and government-owned buildings such as tourists attraction and schools.
The announcement of this ban was made in February, when the government of China decided that Hainan, which is the country’s smallest province would be the site of a new “national ecological civilization pilot zone,” and that the success or failure of the plastic ban would inform future policies across the country
As part of the pilot program, Hainan has been cultivating industrial-scale production methods of biodegradable plastic as part of the plan to supply the entire province with hundreds of thousands of tons of biodegradable plastics, of which at least 40,000 tons of bags, films, and tableware are already available for purchase.
A Chinese newspaper revealed that residents and local shopkeepers know for sure that costs of operating a business will surely be on the rise as a result of the need to buy the more expensive reusable or biodegradable products, but that over time the benefit to nature and the environment will pay off.
This was not always the case in China, and the doctrine of “man must conquer nature” was quite popular in previous decades under sterner party rule.
By 2025 China expects to effectively control plastic pollution entering the ocean, entering landfills, and littering the beaches. As part of its five-year plan, it also hopes to establish a complete plastics management system, and employ biodegradable plastics or plastic substitutes across the country.