Have you ever heard of the term “white pollution’? It is an image title of one of the most serious and common environmental problems in China. The white color is supposed to refer to something pure and clean. In China, however, white pollution, increasing rapidly, stands for some plastic waste due to its major color, caused by single-use plastic tableware and thin plastic bags, which are parts of municipal solid waste. They meet Chinese people’s favor and have become a part of their daily lives.
When people ask for take- out food, it normally comes with single-use plastic containers.
When people went grocery shopping, they gain a couple of plastic bags other than food. Indeed, plastic disposable products bring us lots of convenience. On the other hand, they also bring serious problems to the environment. Control of white pollution has become a big issue for China. White pollution affects the environment negatively through ‘Visual pollution” and “potential hazards”, resulted from inadequate dealing with plastic garbage (what is “white pollution”, 2008) “Visual pollution” means that disposable plastic waste strewed in the natural environment, giving people adverse visual stimulation, effects the overall beauty of the cities.
For example, people can see foam tableware littered along the railways or in the rivers and lakes. They also can see the ultra-thin plastic bags fluttering in the wind or hanging up on the trees (what is “white pollution”, 2008). “Potential hazards” mean that some problems have been deep-rooted in the environment, but may appear after a long time or without being noticed.
According to “what is ‘white pollution” (2008), there are three main aspects as follow. First, plastic waste which can stay in a vast area for centuries, resulting in soil compaction, prevents growth f crops.
In addition, animals might die after eating plastic trash by mistake, which was tossed on the land and in water. Furthermore, landfill is the major treatment of municipal solid waste in China. Plastic waste takes over the ownership of considerable land resources. And it’s hard to resolve the problem in a very long term. Based on a brief article, harmful chemicals can leach into water from plastic waste (Pollution Engineering, 2009).
I think that’s the worst hazards. Harmful chemicals may leach into soil, too. The toxic chemicals go back to humans in the end, causing many serious diseases. Since the early sass, Styrofoam, one of the most common foam plastics, came into use in the making of containers for food preservation. Due to its low price and hygienic quality, foam food container enjoyed popularity in China.
Then, it was brought into wide use throughout trains and fast-food industry. Nevertheless, production of Styrofoam packaging increased so fast that people couldn’t be aware of the eventual environmental problems. Usually, people just discarded the white disposable containers where they wanted, even just threw out obtain windows, causing a huge awful mess wrought China. Ironically, some people said that the enormous white waste looked like “the White Great Wall” or a “white blanket’ (You, 2006). Finally, people’s environmental awareness woke up.
In 1 991, the experts in the packaging industrial field convened and started to talk about how to reduce this hazardous white pollution (You, 2006). Afterward, recycling to manage plastic waste was encouraged by the State Environmental Protection Administration. However, it was hard to gather Styrofoam, which occupied too much space. Thus, green disposable tableware was put in to production. Moreover, the government determined to order a crackdown on Styrofoam.
In 1 999, the former State Economic and Trade Commission as the supreme economic power in China announced that it wouldn’t be permissible to produce and use single-use Styrofoam tableware any more.