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Published March 6, 2008 05:02 PM

China Goes Green(er)

In the last year or so, a lot of not-so-pleasant stuff's been coming out of China: lead-filled toys, poisoned dog food, toxic flip-flops, more lead-filled toys, poisoned toothpaste — need we go on?

We think not — we're all about good news, after all. And finally, China's given us something to smile about: Last week, the most heavily polluted nation on earth announced a plan to stop providing free plastic bags to its citizens at shops and supermarkets.

As of next June, production of the ultra-thin plastic bags commonly provided to shoppers will be banned. If a customer wants a bag, he'll have to pay for a heavier kind, or, preferably, bring his own reusable canvas bag or shopping cart.

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China hopes this measure will drastically cut down on the amount of plastic bags littering the streets, rivers, and countryside — currently, the country goes through over 3 billion bags each day, resulting in major damage to the massively overpopulated country's fragile ecosystem.

Chinese environmental activist Yu Xin looks at the measure as a great step towards greening up the country.

"This is going to be challenging people to change their lifestyle a little bit in during their daily life," he told Voice of America. "For example, they can start with stop using plastic bags, use less disposable chopsticks, or they can change to energy-efficient light bulbs and they can go [on] more public transportation and so on."

One small step for China, one giant leap for the environment. Or so we hope.

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