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Title  Seoul to take measures to reduce single-use of plastic bags
Source  Other
Date  2017-09-22 PM 3:38:25 Hit  86
Contents  
SEOUL, Korea, September 13, 2017 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will take actions to reduce the citizens’ use of plastic bags that are one of the causes of environmental pollution, yet widely used for its convenience.

The master plan to reduce the use of plastic bags and encourage its recycling was made for the first time by the city government in the three areas: 1) reduction in an initial use of plastic bags, 2) improvement of the separate garbage collection for waste plastic bags, and 3) proper disposal of plastic bag waste.

The master plan to reduce the use of plastic bags and encourage its recycling was made for the first time by the city government in the three areas: 1) reduction in an initial use of plastic bags, 2) improvement of the separate garbage collection for waste plastic bags, and 3) proper disposal of plastic bag waste.

To tackle with this situation, the SMG plans to prioritize what it can do at the local government level, and make a close cooperation with the central government to enact a related law.

First of all, starting on September 18, visitors to City Hall and its annex buildings will not be provided disposable plastic umbrella covers on rainy days. Instead, eco-friendly umbrella dryers will be placed at the entrance to decrease the citizens’ possible inconvenience. If this measure pays off, it will be further applied to other public buildings.

Meanwhile, public shop operators will be encouraged to use paper bags instead of using plastic bags and its customers are asked to carry reusable bags.

“No Plastic Bag” campaign will be staged at flea markets held every year between April and October in the Gwanghwamun and Ttukseom areas and “green markets” held occasionally in the neighborhood. This year they can use plastic bags only for wet or frozen foods, but from the next year, the use of plastic bags will be totally banned.

In addition, controls will be tightened on big-scale stores and wholesale and retail shops having its business at more than 33 square meters that are not allowed to provide free plastic bags to their customers according to the Act on the Promotion of Saving and Recycling of Resources. Stores that violate the act will be fined ranging from KRW 50,000 (USD 44) to KRW 3 million (USD 2,650).

During this month, city officials will meet with representatives from five big-scale stores, five super supermarkets (SSMs), two bakery enterprises that already signed a spontaneous agreement with the Ministry of Environment to reduce using plastic bags. The SMG will encourage them to follow the agreement. If they do not follow the agreement, the SMG will consider disclosing their names to the public.

The SMG appoints residents as the lookouts for waste plastic bags collected at resource recovery facilities or garbage incineration plants. Staff and officials from City Hall, autonomous district offices and civic activity groups will also take part in the investigation of collected wastes. If they find a garbage truck that violates the rule of separate garbage collection, they are allowed to impose a rejection of or limitation on its carrying in garbage.

Given the current disposal plastic bag management system, it might be some limitations on effective reduction of increasing plastic bags. So, the SMG will form a special task force team for the improvement of the system. The task team consists of experts and those from related industries, officials from autonomous district offices, and civic activists.

With the civic group, the SMG will implement a city-wide campaign encouraging the citizens not to use plastic bags, but to use reusable bags or eco-bags. Also, it will join the global efforts by holding “Plastic Bag Free Day” which is held on July 3 every year. The Plastic Bag Free Day began by an environment civic group in Spain in 2008, and it became a global initiative that aims to eliminate the use of single-use plastic bags in the world. Currently more than 40 countries’ environmental civic groups are taking part in.
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