Today marks the 49th International Earth day... and we shed light on Korea's efforts over the past year to cut down on using plastic items.
Our Kim Mok-yeon has more.
Over the past few years, South Korea has had one of the highest plastic usage rates in the world.
The government has recently stepped up efforts to confront the environmental issue, introducing measures aimed at reducing the use of plastic.
Last August, the Environment ministry announced a ban on serving drinks in disposable plastic cups, with the aim of cutting the nation's annual consumption of three billion plastic cups by half.
Cafes that go against the rule can be fined up to 18-hundred U.S. dollars.
In line with the policy, the government also banned large stores from providing plastic bags this April.
Some 2,000 large supermarkets, department stores and shopping malls, as well as 11,000 grocery stores larger than 165 square meters have been banned from handing out disposable plastic bags, and instead are offering paper bags.
If stores are found to have violated this rule, they could be fined over 26-hundred dollars depending on the number of times they have committed the offense.
The environment ministry says the latest policy could reduce the number of plastic bags used by 2.2 billion bags a year.
But it seems like the public still thinks more could be done.
According to a survey held by international environmental organization Greenpeace Korea on more than 1,000 adults in the country earlier this month, 9 out of 10 agreed on the seriousness of Korea's garbage and plastic waste and demanded stronger regulations on the use of disposable plastic.
Sixty percent of respondents said that the Environment Ministry is not doing enough to tackle the problem, while only 5 percent said they are doing a good job.
Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.