Don't make students use plastic textbook covers, China's education ministry tells schools

Don't make students use plastic textbook covers, China's education ministry tells schools

File photo Chinese classroom
Children in a classroom at Jinqao Center Primary School in Shanghai. (File photo: AFP/JOHANNES EISELE)

BEIJING: Primary and secondary schools in China should not require students to use plastic covers for their textbooks, the country's education ministry said in a notice dated Oct 10.

Calling for a "zero-plastic start to the school year", the notice also warned that some plastic book covers contain formaldehyde and benzene, which could harm children's health and development.

The notice prohibited schools from requiring students to use plastic book covers - and in particular those with hazardous chemicals - in line with national efforts to limit plastic.

Relevant marketing departments should also step up scrutiny over sub-standard plastic products entering school grounds and those sold to students, said the notice.

China has been making efforts to tackle what it calls "white pollution" from plastic.

Earlier this year, the island province of Hainan said production, sale and use of all single-use non-biodegradable plastics would be banned in 2025. 

It is the first Chinese region to make a formal commitment to phase out such plastics.

READ: China's Hainan to ban single-use plastics by 2025: State media

The province uses about 120,000 tonnes of the material every year, according to government estimates.

The government is also working on new measures aimed at restricting the use of plastic packaging by courier and food delivery firms, which has been the biggest cause of the surge in plastic waste in recent years.

The country has also banned the import of plastic waste, causing millions of tonnes of trash to be rerouted to less-regulated countries.

READ: Southeast Asia should ban foreign trash imports: Environmentalists

Source: CNA/agencies/nc(tx)