Japan plans to charge plastic shopping bags at supermarkets, convenience stores, drugstores, and department stores. According to a report, the aim to implement the new policy would help fight marine pollution. Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada said that his ministry intends to propose a new law to ban free single-use plastic bags.”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 every plastic bag. The money collected from plastic bags will be used in preventive measures for our surroundings such as afforestation and spreading awareness on environmental issues.

The ministry also considers expanding the targeted retailers to small and medium-sized business operators. Biodegradable plastic bags are not included in 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. This causes microplastics pollution which is harmful to marine life.