Case Study: China's Fight Against Disposable (Throwaway) Chopsticks

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China's Ministry of Commerce, together with five other ministries, issued this warning in June: "Companies making disposable chopsticks will face local government restrictions aimed at decreasing the use of the throwaway utensil.... Production, circulation and recycling of disposable chopsticks should be more strictly supervised." (Disposable/ (throwaway) chopsticks are wooden utensils used to eat oriental/ Chinese food. The Chinese Government wants to reduce production and use of disposable chop sticks). The local population appears reluctant to focus on the Government plans to restrict the production and usage of disposable chopsticks, because they have other problems to solve. These problems include summer floods in many parts of China (due to excessive rain), a massive oil spill in the Yellow Sea and excessive air pollution caused by vehicles. Just in the city of Beijing, over half a million cars have been newly registered (resulting in dangerous levels of carbon dioxide damaging human health). However, the disposable chopstick, made from birch trees or poplar trees looks like an environmental disaster. China has approximately 1.3 billion people, who in one year go through (use) roughly 45 billion pairs of the throwaway utensils; that averages out to nearly 130 million pairs of chopsticks a day. (The export market accounts for 18 billion pairs annually.) Greenpeace China (global association interested in protecting the planet and saving the environment) has estimated that to keep up with this demand, 100 acres of trees need to be chopped down every 24 hours. This is equivalent to a forest larger than 100 American football fields (roughly 16 million to 25 million trees chopped down every year). Deforestation is one of China's most serious environmental problems, leading to famine (starvation), flooding, carbon dioxide release, and desertification and species extinction. However, for over 10 years, activists have been trying to reduce the reliance on...
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