Presently, several Asian countries have national regulations or bans on single-use plastics. Bangladesh, the first country to have a national ban on plastic bags, passed the ban in 2002, long before the problem of single-use plastic bags became a mainstream issue. China issued a ban in 2020 with phased implementation, the first phase of which started at the end of 2020 and the last phase commencing in 2025. India also issued a ban on single-use plastics that will take effect in 2022. Implementation has generally been found to be wanting and some national bans have been said to be riddled with loopholes. In countries without a national plastic regulation or ban, local governments have taken it upon themselves to regulate single-use plastics. There are cities that have figured out how to do it right — resulting in high compliance among households and reduction of plastic waste generation.
In this publication, we put a spotlight on the cities of San Fernando (Pampanga) and San Carlos (Negros Occidental) in the Philippines; Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India; and Jakarta, Indonesia. Hopefully, these policy models can catalyze other cities and communities to expedite efforts in addressing plastic waste, starting from regulating single-use plastics.