China’s Cabinet has ruled that on June 1 – just before China takes center stage at the Beijing Olympics in September – shops will be banned from handing out free plastic bags, this article reports. Under the new rules, customers will have to pay for bags, although production of ultra-thin bags less than 1.025mm thick will be completely banned. The State Council said, “We should encourage people to return to carrying cloth bags, using baskets for their vegetables,” which was the common practice only a generation ago.The primary problem is an excessive amount of litter. According to the Independant, 3 billion bags are used in China every day. The result? Bags can be seen hanging from tree branches, piled along roadsides and rolling with the wind over plateaus.
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