WASHINGTON, June 24, 2021—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a loan of US$430 million for the China Plastic Waste Reduction Project to help improve plastic waste management at the national and subnational levels in China and reduce plastics pollution from municipal solid waste.
Marine plastic pollution is a growing threat to the world's oceans, with serious consequences for eco-systems, human health and livelihoods. Globally, 80 percent of marine plastics is estimated to come from unmanaged or poorly managed municipal solid waste as a result of improper waste management operations, infrastructure and systems. Municipal solid waste is also a contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for some 5 percent of global emissions.
“This is the first World Bank-financed project to support plastic waste management in China. By focusing on policies, regulations and programs to reduce pollution and promoting environmentally sustainable practices, this project will contribute to China’s efforts to transition towards a low carbon and circular economy, and will help reduce plastic waste leakages to the world’s oceans originating from China,” said Martin Raiser, World Bank Country Director for China, Mongolia and Korea.
The project will combine policy and regulatory work at the national level with investments and technical assistance at the subnational and local level. At the national level, it will help develop policy and implementation mechanisms to reduce plastics pollution, improve resource utilization through recycling, and support waste minimization and prevention.
Implementation of the new national policy framework for plastic waste management will take place in two project cities – Ningbo and Chongqing. Ningbo is among cities on China’s east coast that have already started to adopt advanced waste management, recycling and prevention measures. Chongqing, by contrast, represents the majority of Chinese cities that are in the early stages of separating waste at the source in urban areas, and improving waste services in rural areas.
The project will support these two cities to improve the functionality of their respective solid waste management systems, addressing plastic leakage hotspots in waste flows and pushing recycling to a higher level. In addition, in Chongqing the project will help demonstrate the urban-rural integration of solid waste management and plastic pollution control, and in Ningbo it will pilot enhanced separation of wastes and increased recycling rates.
Experiences gained and lessons learned through this project are expected to be replicated and inform reforms and practices in other provinces as well as further policy work at the national level.
A total of 13.2 million urban and rural residents in Ningbo and Chongqing will benefit directly from better municipal solid waste services, decreased plastic waste pollution, and a cleaner living environment.