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EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan outlines the government's plan for cutting plastic waste on Feb. 13 in Taipei City. Taiwan EPA

Taiwan Sets Aggressive Timeline to Ban Straws and Other Single-Use Plastics

Taiwan's Environmental Protection Agency, in cooperation with a number of environmental organizations, proposed an ambitious 12-year timeline Tuesday to eliminate four types of single-use plastics—takeaway beverage cups, drinking straws, shopping bags and disposable tableware—by 2030 to tackle plastic pollution.

Taiwan, the birthplace of bubble tea, is famous for its unique food and drink culture, but the plastic vessels that come with the treats make up the vast majority of the country's beach litter. Additionally, the Tamsui River in the north was declared the 16th dirtiest river in the world for leaching 14,700 tons of plastic debris into the ocean every year.

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Boston City Council Approves Plastic Bag Ban

You might want to bring a tote if you plan on shopping in Beantown next year. Boston City Council voted 12-0 on Wednesday to ban single-use plastic bags across the Massachusetts capital.

The measure now heads to Mayor Marty Walsh, who is said to be reviewing the proposal, which requires businesses to charge no less than five cents for other types of shopping bags, such as reusable bags, compostable plastic bags and recyclable paper bags, the Associated Press reported. Businesses would keep the proceeds from the fee.

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Print Your City! The New Raw

3D Printing Turns Plastic Trash Into Public Furniture

Dutch designers are giving Amsterdam's plastic trash a second life by creating 3D-printed benches out of discarded plastic bags.

The "XXX" plastic bench, a collaboration between The New Raw and Aectual, made its debut in late October in the Dutch capital.

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Can Plastic Ever Be Made Illegal?

By Danielle Corcione

I thought I knew what garbage looked like. Then I arrived in Bangalore, the third-largest city in India.

There was trash almost everywhere you looked. Plastic bottles, food packaging and other waste that could've potentially been recycled contaminated the landscape, even in people's front- and backyards. When I'd ride into the city from the ashram where I was staying in the countryside, I'd inhale toxic fumes of garbage piles burning and observe wild animals rummaging through fields of trash.

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Fish can mistake plastic trash for food and can ingest it with fatal consequences. NOAA

Chile Bans Plastic Bags in 100+ Coastal Areas

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed a bill Wednesday that prohibits the sale of single-use plastic bags in 102 coastal villages and towns in a bid to stop the build-up of ocean plastic and to "[take] care of our marine ecosystems."

An estimated eight million tons of plastic trash gets dumped into our oceans each year, literally choking marine life, harming ocean ecosystems and threatening the larger food chain.

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Kenya Enforces World's Toughest Law Against Plastic Bags

Kenya is taking its new plastic bag ban very seriously. Starting Monday, anyone who manufactures, sells or even carries a plastic bag in the East African country could be slapped with a fine of up to $38,000 or get sent to jail for up to four years.

It took the Kenyan government three attempts over the past 10 years to finally pass the ban, which is considered as the world's toughest, according to Reuters.

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This South Pacific Nation Is Saying Goodbye to Single-Use Plastic Bags and Bottles

By Marnie Cunningham

The Pacific nation of Vanuatu is addressing its waste problem by banning certain plastic items. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai made a public declaration on Independence Day (July 30) that they would be phasing out the use of plastic bags and bottles.

According to the Vanuatu Daily Post, PM Salwai stated in his announcement that it was his government's priority to protect Vanuatu's environment and oceans and to keep the country "clean and safe."

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Photo credit: EPA / Mike Nelson

Kenya Joins Growing Fight Against Plastic Pollution

Kenya just became the latest country to ban plastic bags. According to Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu, "The ministry has banned the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging."

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Microplastics in Oceans Outnumber Stars in Our Galaxy by 500 Times

The United Nations is "declaring war" on the biggest sources of planetary pollution—ocean plastic. On Thursday, the intergovernmental organization's environment program (UNEP) launched its #CleanSeas campaign at the World Ocean Summit hosted by The Economist in Bali, Indonesia.

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