“Ocean plastic waste is one of the issues topping the G20 summit agenda, and as the chair of the meeting, we will exercise leadership to solve the matter.”
Japan has unveiled a new policy to boost the use of plant-based bioplastics in order to tackle marine plastic waste, according to local media reports.
The news journal The Mainichi has reported that the Japanese government’s new policy is aiming to get the country to recycle 100% of newly produced plastics by 2035 and promote the use of bioplastics from plant-based sources. Japan also wants to promote biodegradable materials.
According to the journal, Japan is hoping to cast itself as a leader on the issue of marine plastic waste and will reportedly press for an international agreement to reduce the amount of plastic going into the ocean during a G20 summit due to take place in Osaka from 28 June to 30 June.
“Ocean plastic waste is one of the issues topping the G20 summit agenda, and as the chair of the meeting, we will exercise leadership to solve the matter,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a ministerial meeting that adopted the policy package.
However, according to media reports, the policies so far are largely theoretical, with no timeline specified for legislation needed to implement some of the programme.
Under the new plan, Japan will also urge companies to tackle the use of microbeads in products such as toothpaste and facewash to prevent plastic waste from flowing into the sea.
The conversation around single-use plastic waste shows no signs of slowing down. Countries around the world have stepped up their efforts to tackle the problem.
It is estimated that around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste flow into the oceans each year, globally.
From Japan, around 20,000 to 60,000 tonnes of plastic wastes are estimated to flow into the oceans annually, the government said.
Plastic pollution has become an increasingly international concern, particularly after bans imposed by China. In fact, the Malaysian government has recently announced that it will send back around 3,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries including the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Malaysia’s environment minister said he did not want the country to become a dumping ground for rich nations.
The Japanese government is aiming to strengthen laws to help it punish people who dump plastic in the sea, according to local press reports.
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