Did you ever imagine that around a hundred billion plastic bags are used every year in the US alone?
When we consider the huge economies and populations of India, China, Europe, and other parts of the world the numbers can be staggering.
The developed countries further exacerbated the problem by shipping off their plastic waste to developing countries like India.
The reason to become so popular because they are cheap and they are lightweight and convenient.
So basically the positives have obviously made them popular over time but the negatives greatly outweigh the positives. We should all do our best to reduce that consumption.
But the majority of the people especially in developing countries are not aware of the negative effects of plastic bags.
The objective of this article is basically to highlight the negative effects of plastic bags & look into some alternatives.
How Are Plastic Bags Made?
Plastic bags are made from petroleum which is not a very healthy source.
Also, you know the prices of petroleum are going up. Also, petroleum products are diminishing since we have used this non-renewable resource increasingly.
Without viable alternative sources of energy, if the supply of petroleum turned, off it would lead to the entire world grinding to a halt.
Around 60 to 100 million barrels of oil are needed every year around the world for making these bags.
Petroleum is vital for our modern way of life for our factories, transportation, heating, and lighting.
So why should we waste this precious resource on the production of plastic bags?
How Do Plastic Bags Affect Our Environment?
Take a look at why effective management of plastic waste is the need of the hour.
The worst effect of plastic bags is environmental pollution.
So when you throw away a plastic bag where does it go? They usually end up in a landfill.
When they are littered, they are on our streets, beaches, parks, they end up in oceans, on a river or in rivers.
Since plastic bags are so lightweight thanks look easily in the air and they end up in trees.
When they end up in the ocean 90% of all trash floating in the ocean is plastic basically.
Here they cost pollution they kill animals and they use of various natural resources.
Most plastic bags go into landfills after their use. Each year the massive quantity of bags are ending up littering the environment.
After littering, plastic bags find their way into our waterways, parks, beaches, and streets.
They infuse the air with toxic fumes even if they are burned.
Effects On Wild Life
Thousands of animals die every year due to these bags they ingest plastic bags mistaking them for food.
Plastic wastes are even much intensive in some water areas. It means that fish are likely to swallow the plastic, their stomach will be filled with plastic, and finally starved to death.
The saddest thing is that after an animal dies from eating a plastic bag the body decomposes but the bag doesn’t.
So then these bags are free to float around and take another victim.
About eighty-six percent of sea turtles either died from ingesting plastic bags or being entangled.
The seabirds face the same risk. They may be suffocated, entangled because of plastic bags.
One of the worst environmental effects is that plastic bags are non-biodegradable & the decomposition takes around four hundred years.
Instead, they photo up degrade when exposed to sunlight which means they break into smaller and smaller pieces slowly over time.
None of us will live so long to witness the decomposition of plastic thus save the environment for future generations as well as animals.
World Wide Awareness
According to an estimate, the average EU resident uses 500 plastic bags one year, which is a heavy environmental burden.
Mediterranean countries are among the most badly affected, many plastic bags retained in the soil. Also, there are many drifts in the ocean.
Australia and some African countries issued a ban on plastic bags.
Whereas, Belgium, Ireland, and other countries the tax on plastic bags in order to reduce environmental pollution.
Germany seems to be one step ahead in this aspect. On average, German uses 60 plastic bags each year only about half of Australians.
In addition, Germany is still has a considerable sound recycling system.
German Environment Conservation Association’s data shows that approximately 1 / 4 of the countries in the world have prohibited the use of plastic bags.
According to the German Environment Conservation Society, these bags floating in the sea are particularly dangerous that makes us fear about is not only the rubbishes floating in the sea, but also those little plastic products.
The German Federal Environment Agency experts pointed out that the production of plastic bags will waste valuable resources.
However, the German Federal Environmental Agency and the German Association of the natural environment, biodegradable plastic bags are not respected because of the degradation cycle for almost 100 years.
Ireland and other countries introduced taxation fees and other methods to deal with a plastic bag problem & achieved remarkable results.
Ireland has imposed a tax on plastic bags. So if you go to the grocery store and you want plastic you have to pay a tax like every single bag.
This tax has made reducing the amount of about 90% overall in Ireland.
Denmark has seen the lowest plastic usage in Europe after imposing a tax in 2003, The average is as low as just 4 bags per person, per year.
Viable Alternatives Of Plastic Bags
However, along with the ban & taxes, it must have the appropriate alternatives.
Recycling plastic bags are also a good idea. One of the huge things about plastic bags and recycling is that only one to three percent of all plastic bags are recycled.
It actually costs more money to recycle plastic fragment to make a new one.
They are abundant and everywhere and retailers don’t really recycle it very often.
Alternate Shopping Bags
Some other bags can be used instead of plastic bags Like:
There is an argument that paper bags are heavier than plastic bags and so take more energy to transport and more space in bins.
But the fact is that Paper decomposes quickly into natural products.
On the other hand, plastic breaks down into tiny particles that can get into the food chain and can potentially stay around for hundreds of years.
Environmental experts & Organizations say that it is needed to move away from single-use bags altogether.
Cotton Or Linen Bags
The best are of linen and cotton. These bags are good, easy to handle and these can be used repeatedly.
Also, these bags are easy to dispose of without causing much harm to the environment.
If you are caring about your environment, you should have your own tote bag for shopping.
You can reuse it over and over again without causing any threat to our environment.
Although, governments may be working out ways to reduce the impact of plastic bags on the environment however each of us should also take some of the responsibility on our shoulders.
Plastic is not only non-biodegradable but is one of the major pollutants of the sea. for a clean and green environment try to use alternatives wherever possible.
Let’s contribute to saving our planet by cutting the use of plastic bags.
Have A Happy & Healthy Life.