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UN Officials Praise China Forbidding Foreign Rubbish: Developed Countries Pay For Themselves

Erik Solheim, UNEP's executive director, said on Monday that China's fight against imports of plastic rubbish should be a signal to wealthy countries to step up recovery and reduce non-essential products like plastic drinking straw.


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A man standing in a pile of old plastic products in the village of Xa Cau, about 40 km south of Hanoi, Vietnam


Reuters reported that Solheim served as Norway's environment minister. After he called for the restrictions in China to enter into force this month, the developed countries should reconsider the use of plastics instead of simply thinking of dumping overseas for another place.

"I heard Europeans complain about China's decision. We should see this decision as a benefit to the Chinese people and a wake-up call for the rest of the world," he said in a telephone interview.

"And there are many products we do not need at all."

He said that the most typical example is the plastic particles, the substance used in cosmetics, but found it on the world's oceans, rivers and lakes are contaminated, in addition to drinking straw.

"Ordinary Americans consume 600 pipettes a year," he said, generating a lot of plastic waste. "Everyone can drink directly from a cup or bottle."

He advises restaurants and bars to post a note like "If you really need straw, we can deliver it." Some companies have reduced the use of drinking straws.

He also agreed with the ban on the use of plastic particles. Plastic particles are sometimes used in face scrubs or toothpaste abrasives. The United States passed a law that banned the use of plastic particles in 2015, and a similar law in the United Kingdom came into force this month.


He also agreed with the ban on the use of plastic particles. Plastic particles are sometimes used in face scrubs or toothpaste abrasives. The United States passed a law that banned the use of plastic particles in 2015, and a similar law in the United Kingdom came into force this month.

China is the major recipient of more than half of the plastic waste exports in Western countries. Since China banned imports of "foreign rubbish", which includes some levels of plastic and paper waste, large quantities of waste have been piled up in some western ports.

Solheim said companies including KO.N, Nestle (NESN.S) and Danone (DANO.PA) are taking steps to increase recycling rates for plastic products or switch to biodegradable packaging materials. Kenya has banned the use of plastic bags.

"But the problem is so serious that governments and businesses need to work harder," Solheim said