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Some towns and cities in the U.S. are beginning to ban the use of disposable plastic bags in stores. I think that this ban is a good thing, and that other towns, cities and states should be encouraged to do the same.
Plastic bags have many different environmental problems when they are thrown into nature. Many of the problems can have a serious affect after only a few decades.
Some of the effects of plastic are already being seen, like plastic bag pollution in the ocean. When people do not properly dispose of plastic bags, they can go into the ocean, and animals like turtles can eat them thinking that they’re jellyfish. This happens to around one hundred thousand sea turtles every year, and the way they die is terrible. It blocks their digestive tract and can take over a month to kill them while they starve to death. This also happens to around one million birds, thousands of seals, thousands of whales, and thousands of other animals every year. Also in the ocean, plastic bags are large parts of ocean pollution, and they can make their way into huge ocean landfills like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Plastic bags also take a crazy amount of time to decompose. Around one trillion plastic bags are used every year, and plastic can take 1,000 years to photodegrade. Photodegradation is when material just breaks up into smaller pieces, and in the case of plastic bags, this is toxic. The smaller pieces of degraded plastic can contaminate waterways, and animals can drink it. This could even happen to humans who don’t have proper filtration for their water systems, like in parts of undeveloped nations. Small plastic bag bits act like sponges in the ocean, soaking up toxins, and sending out the chemicals they contain into the ocean. When humans eat these, it can be very dangerous.
Plastic bags can also have effects on developed parts of the world. Plastic bags have been known to clog up storm drains, which can make flooding much worse that it would be.
Many of the problems with plastic bags don’t have to do with the plastic bags themselves, but with the pollution that they produce when they’re manufactured. When plastic bags are made, it takes billions of gallons of fossil fuel and fresh water every year, and the production produces billions of pounds of solid waste and millions of tons of CO2 yearly. This has been happening at a large scale since 1985.
There are many solutions and benefits of getting rid of plastic bags, and there are many things you could do to help.
One of the easiest solutions is just to buy a few reusable bags when you go grocery shopping. Reusable bags only cost as low as sixty cents, and you can use them for years without having to buy a new one.
Another solution is to petition for a plastic bag ban, which is a law that makes it so stores cannot use plastic bags. Many cities around the world have this, and it’s becoming easier to do because of cheaper plastic bag alternatives coming out. There are also many people who write to their city mayor to say that they should start a bill to ban plastic bags for their city.
Something that is much harder to do but works is to boycott stores that use plastic bags. This is very difficult, but with many more stores using plastic bag alternatives, it is entirely possible.
There are also many benefits to getting rid of plastic bags. One, obviously, it that it would be great for the environment. Another is that in the long run, it would cost stores much less if they pushed bringing reusable bags, because they only have to buy a few per person instead of buying plastic bags forever.
There are many counter arguments against getting rid of plastic bags, and there are easy solutions for them.
One counterargument is that it is too expensive to not use plastic bags. For reusable
bags, as I said before, there only need to be a few manufactured per person. Paper bags do cost a lot of money to manufacture, but it doesn’t have a big impact on the stores that use them because they’re still making so much money, and the price of paper bags can barley be noticed compared to the amount that stores make in profit.
Another counterargument is that it is too hard for retail stores to not use them, because people don’t bring reusable plastic bags to retail stores. Many retail stores can still use alternatives to plastic bags. For example, Apple stores are beginning to use paper bags instead of plastic bags, and many clothing stores use paper bags, and some clothing stores are even handing out reusable bags!
In conclusion, there are many negative effects of plastic bags on the environment and on humans. There are a lot of good ways to get rid of plastic bags, and if everybody in the world did, it would be great for the environment.