Japan plans to mandate the charge for plastic shopping bags at supermarkets, convenience stores, drugstores, and department stores. According to a report, this would debar people from producing plastic waste that could cause marine pollution. Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada said that his ministry aims to implement a new law prohibiting the usage of single-use plastic bags for free. “The proportion of plastic bags among plastic waste is not big, but charging would be symbolic”, he added. The ministry asks retailers to charge up to 10 yen for each plastic bag. The revenues collected are then expected to be used in ecological measures such as afforestation and spreading awareness on environmental issues.

The ministry also considers to expand the targeted retailers to small and medium-sized business operators and to exclude biodegradable plastic bags from the ban. A report added that Japan produces the largest amount of plastic waste per capita following the United States. It is estimated that there are over 8 million tons of plastic waste that flow into the oceans every year which causes microplastics pollution. Moreover, the noxious chemicals carried by some plastics have a bad effect on marine life.