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Japan Adopts Policy Package Aimed at Cutting Plastic Waste Ahead of Osaka G20 Summit

The new policies will be aimed at reducing the dumping of plastics into the ocean

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Many countries are having trouble managing the growing amount of sinle-us plastic waste. Pixabay

Japan on Friday adopted a series of measures to reduce the production of plastic waste ahead of the G20 summit in Osaka city at the end of June, where the issue is one of the main items on the agenda.

The new policies will be aimed at reducing the dumping of plastics into the ocean, encouraging recycling of plastic bottles and combating pollution of oceans by microplastics, tiny bits of plastic trash that are a threat to marine birds and fish and which, according to experts, can pose a risk to human health.

“Ocean plastic waste is one of the issues topping the G20 summit agenda. As the chair of the meeting, we will exercise leadership to solve the matter,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a meeting where the policy package was finalized, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

The plan includes providing support to the development of biodegradable materials and the promotion of recycling. It requires retailers to charge customers for plastic bags while calling for an increased use of bioplastics made of renewable resources such as plants.

Japan, Policy Package, Plastic Waste
Japan on Friday adopted a series of measures to reduce the production of plastic waste . Pixabay

The measures also ask manufacturers to stop the use of microbeads in facewash and toothpaste and urge municipalities located near rivers to prevent plastic waste from finding its way into the sea, according to Efe news.

Japan, the world’s second largest generator of plastic waste per capita after the US, has proposed cutting plastic trash by 25 per cent by 2030 and completely recycling and reusing such waste, including components used in household electric appliances and automobiles, by 2035.

Many countries are having trouble managing the growing amount of plastic waste, which disintegrates into small pieces on exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and out of which over 8 million tonnes end up in the oceans, according to the UN.

Friends of the Earth, an international network of environmental organizations in 74 countries, estimates that there is currently around 150 tonnes of plastic waste in the oceans around the world and at the present rate, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.

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These wastes, which tend to absorb harmful chemicals, are difficult to remove once they’re in water and end up being eaten by fish, birds and other animals, thereby moving up the food chain. (IANS)

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Japan’s 2018 Greenhouse Emissions Lowest in Two Decades: Report

The Japanese government aims to tackle this problem by introducing new regulations in 2020 to strengthen control over the disposal of hydroflurocarbon-using equipment

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Wind Energy
Low-cost renewable energy technologies like Wind Energy are readily-available today, representing the most effective and immediate solution for reducing carbon emissions. Pixabay

Japan in 2018 recorded its lowest greenhouse gas emissions in two decades thanks to a warm winter and increased generation of nuclear power, according to data released on Friday.

However, the country still has a long way to go to reach its Paris Agreement goal, Efe news reported.

In 2018, total carbon dioxide emissions were recorded at 1.24 billion tons, a year-on-year decrease of 3.6 per cent and the lowest figure since data compilation began in 1990, according to the preliminary figures released by the Japanese Ministry of Environment.

The previous low was recorded in 2009 with 1.25 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Although this is the fifth consecutive year of dropping emissions, the ministry acknowledged that a lot remained to be done to achieve the 2030 goal of 26 percent cut in emissions from the 2013 levels a target set under the Paris climate agreement.

From 2013 to 2018, Japan’s cumulative reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has been 11.8 percent, according to the government’s figures published a week before the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid.

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FILE – Air pollution hangs over the skyline as the sun rises over Beijing’s central business district, Jan. 14, 2013. VOA

The government said the main factors that contributed to the reduction were the decreasing production in power stations that use fossil fuels and gradual return to energy generation through nuclear plants.

Japan established a stricter safety framework following a nuclear standstill after the 2011 Fukushima accident.

Although the approval to reactivate was given in 2017, it was not until 2018 that the plants started functioning.

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Household emissions fell by 10 percent in 2018 due to increased use of energy-saving appliances and a warm winter which led to lower usage of heating systems during the season.

However, an increased use of air conditioners caused a 9.4 percent rise in hydrofluorocarbons emissions and other similar compounds.

The Japanese government aims to tackle this problem by introducing new regulations in 2020 to strengthen control over the disposal of hydroflurocarbon-using equipment. (IANS)