Plastic bags have been useful since their introduction, but as time went by, they turned to be a nuisance; destroying the environment and killing wildlife. According to the Environmental protection Agency somewhere between 500 billion to a trillion plastic bags are used each year universally. This is an astonishing number, and it calls for an urgent measure.
According to Sugii and Tufts University Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (2008), it is surprising that it costs a lot of money to recycle plastic bags than to manufacture. This leads to used plastic bags not being recycled; they are therefore, dumped by oceangoing vessels. As Bleyl (2009) stated, this is estimated to be 8 million pounds of plastic annually. Therefore, it is discovered that the world’s landfills are not overflowing with plastic because most of the plastic rubbish end up in ocean fills.
When plastic bags are dumped in landfills, they are blown all over the world. This includes oceans; rivers and lakes. They cause a lot of damage to wildlife and sea animals. Polythene bags sometimes end up killing the animals. This happens when the animals mistake plastic bags for food.
These plastic bags get their way into the sea through drainage pipes and sewage. When plastic bags stay for a long time disposed, they break down into smaller more toxic petro-polymers. This is called photo degradation. This leads to the contamination of soil and waterways. In the end microscopic particles enter the food chain. Birds become terminally disheveled. Almost 200 dissimilar species of sea life animals like whales, dolphins, and turtles die due to increase in plastic bags.
Therefore, the use of cloth bags is recommended. This will save almost a trillion bags of plastic. Thus, the cost of plastic manufacture will reduce, and the use of fuel will be minimal. Several countries have banned the use of plastic bags. These countries are Bangladesh and Rwanda. China has banned free plastic bags, and some countries like Ireland are taxing plastic bags. Kenya and Tanzania are in the process of burning plastic bags. Reducing the use of plastic bags will decrease foreign oil dependency.
As Freinkel (2011) stated, the use of plastic bags creates a variety of environmental impacts including serious effects on natural ecosystems and human activities. From the comparison of each environmental effect, the impact on wildlife and scenery seems to be more serious than other environmental detriments, because the unique characteristics of plastic bags lead to widespread litter with long- lasting effects (Sugii &Tufts University Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning 2008). Plastic bag reduction would make some contribution on saving energy and material.
Therefore, plastic bag reduction is useful for countries such as South Africa, India or China. This is because in these countries, plastic bags have a serious effect on scenery. Plastic bag reduction is not the most important policy for developed countries, because the main purpose of these countries to reduce plastic bags is saving energy or solving the shortage of landfill areas.
Plastic as a whole causes environmental degradation and serious measures should be taken worldwide. The countries which have banned the use of plastic are benefiting from it, and are also saving their environment. Plastic bags have a devastating effect, it would be advisable if all countries all over the world will take the safety precaution seriously and ban the use of plastic bags. This will save the world from destruction. Although, damage has already been done, it is better late than never.
Bleyl, M. (2009).Finding Wisdom. Xlibris Corporation.
Freinkel, S. (2011).Plastic: A Toxic Love Story. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Sugii, T., & Tufts University Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning. (2008).Plastic Bag diminution: Policies to decrease Environmental Impact: Proquest.