China has announced a plan to restrict the use of single-use plastic straws and bags to cut down plastic pollution.

Large amounts of untreated plastic waste get either buried in landfills or thrown into rivers in the country, harming the environment, reported Reuters.

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According to the new policy issued by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, plastic bags will be banned in all major cities by the end of this year and in all other cities and towns two years later. However, markets that sell fresh produce can continue to use plastic bags until 2025.

Other items set to be phased out include plastic utensils from takeaway food counters and plastic courier packages.

By end of this year, the restaurant industry will be required to stop using single-use straws, and by 2025, the restaurants in the towns and cities across China must cut down the consumption of single-use plastic items by 30%, reported the news agency.

China also put a ban on the import of all plastic waste, apart from for the use of medical plastic waste in plastic production.

Ban will be imposed on the sale and production plastic bags that have a thickness of less than 0.025mm and plastic films of less than 0.01mm thick for agricultural use.

China is currently increasing the recycling rate and bolstering its resource utilisation facilities so that more products can be reused as part of its strategy to tackle plastic pollution.