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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 13 - 19  > Diet enacts bill to counter plastic pollution in sea
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2018 June 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Diet enacts bill to counter plastic pollution in sea

June 16, 2018
A bill to counter ocean plastic pollution was enacted on June 15 with a unanimous vote to pass the bill in the House of Councilors plenary session.

The bill will require companies to work to reduce the use of small pieces of plastic, or “microplastics”, and the amount of plastic waste. The bill was proposed in response to growing concern that microplastics discharged to the sea cause pollution and damage wildlife.

In the House of Councilors Environment Committee meeting on June 14, Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Takeda Ryosuke took up a report by the UN Environment Program. Based on the report published earlier this month, Takeda said that the world produced 300 million tons of plastic waste in 2015 and that the UNEP calls on world countries to reduce the waste.

Takeda criticized the government for having left the plastic waste problem up to voluntary efforts of the business world. Stressing that the bill is aimed at obliging companies just to “make efforts” to use a smaller amount of microplastics and reduce plastic waste, Takeda doubted that the enactment of the bill is enough for Japan to fulfill its responsibility to tackle plastic pollution. He demanded that the government set yearly reduction targets on plastic waste and consider taking measures to prevent pollution at the production level.

Environment Minister Nakagawa Masaharu in reply said that the government will think carefully about whether it is possible to include numerical targets in the government’s strategy on the recycling of plastics now under discussion.
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