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Seoul pledges to stop using so much plastic

Sept 20,2018
The Seoul city government said it will halve the use of plastic materials in the city by 2022, following the national government’s pledge to cut down on plastic materials as well as the global trend.

“Seoul intends to reduce the use of plastic in the city by 50 percent by 2022,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in a statement Wednesday. “We intend to tackle the provision and consumption of plastic in the city.”

According to the city government, one person in South Korea used an average of 132.7 kilograms [292 pounds] of plastic in 2015, which exceeded 93.8 kilograms in the United States, 65.8 kilograms in Japan and 65 kilograms in France.

“There is a global effort to curb the use of plastic,” said Hwang Bo-yeon, head of the climate and environment policy bureau of the city government. “The U.K. announced a plan to reduce plastic materials into 2025, the EU announced a plan to reduce the use of plastic bags by 80 percent by 2025 and Kenya forbade the use of plastic bags in 2017.”

In line with the global trend, Hwang said, the central government announced in May that it will try to reduce the amount of plastic waste by 50 percent by 2030.

“The Seoul city government will also phase out the use of plastic cups and bottles in the city government and it will forbid the use of disposable plastic cups within the City Hall compounds this year,” the city government said. “The same will be recommended for the city government’s subcontracted organizations next year, and for private companies working with the city government in 2020.”

The recommendation will extend to parks, market places, hospitals and movie theaters.

“We will ask the managers of parks, marketplaces and festivals in Seoul to refrain from using disposable plastic cups and bags,” the city government said. “We will recommend the same for the restaurants and businesses operating and opening up at Hangang Park and other parks in Seoul, including food trucks.

“We will also try this out at the funeral centers in Boramae Medical Center and the Seoul Medical Center from next year,” it said. “The practice will be recommended to the rest of the city-run hospitals in Seoul in 2020 and then to private hospitals by 2021.”

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]


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