Friday, 11 January 2008

Going green, the Chinese way

The environmental issues have received much attention lately. One of the "in" thing to do now is to go green.

In 2008, I have resoluted to make every Wednesday a no driving day; put on my walking shoes, leave the heals at home and take public transport to work. Well, this is my small way of supporting the green efforts, even though it may be so microscopically small.

I am thrilled to see in the news that China has imposed a law to ban free distribution of plastic bags in supermarkets and other retail shops with effect from 1 June 2008. The manufacturing of ultra thin plastic bags (which often requires double bagging) will also be prohibited. This will be a great contribution to the green efforts!

Coincidentally, I recently had a discussion with my Chinese colleague about the use of recycle bags in China. He was telling me that the people are not ready for this. Given the current level of affluence in the society, many people would probably be more worried about livelihood than the environmental issues at large. Yet the Chinese government has made such a bold and radical move today, which I am totally impressed! So communism may not be entirely bad, as long as the government is wise. This is a good example that it can work for the better.

I am not so naive to believe that there is no political agenda hidden behind this ban. As much as most could guess, it would have got something to do with the upcoming Olympics 2008. However, do I need to dwell so much into it when I can choose to be superficial? Afterall, I think this ban of the use of plastic bags will definitely have positive contributions to the environment.

There is no doubt that China is a big country. With a population of 1.2 billion (that's 20% of the world's population), this nation can make huge differences to our world. Yes China might have received much negative publicity lately (unsafe level of lead contents in toys, artificial and unsafe ingredients used in the manufacturing of food, etc) but let us not be oblivious to the great things that it is capable of. This country can contribute positively to the world we live it, all it needs is time. And I shall wait patiently for the dragon to rise, to see how it can become the leader towards a better life for all of us.

In case you are interested, here's the link to the announcement on the Chinese government website.

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