Below are some of the 20+ reasons why plastic bags should be banned from our cities. !
Plastic bags do not only pollute our water but also our land. Plastic bags are usually lightweight and as such, they can travel very long distances by either water or wind. Wind blows these plastic bags and trashes a whole area. These litters gets caught up in between trees, fences and floats in water bodies thus moving to the world’s oceans.
The plastic bags are made from non-renewable sources and on this account, highly contribute to climate change. Most of plastic is made of polypropylene which is a material manufactured from petroleum and natural gas. All of the materials are non-renewable fossil fuel-based materials and through their extraction and even production, greenhouse gases are created which further contribute to global climate change.
A lot of energy is used in producing these bags. The total amount of energy required to drive a car for one kilometre or 0.5 miles is the equivalent energy required to produce nine plastic bags. It is not rational that these non-renewable resources are used to make plastic bags when the typical useful life of each and every plastic bag is around 12 minutes.
Plastic bags do not degrade. In truth, petroleum based plastic bags never degrade. Instead of the plastic degrading, it is broken down into small tiny pieces which are swept down and end up in the oceans which are then consumed by wildlife. Currently, there are approximately 46,000-1,000,000 plastic fragments floating within every square mile of the globes oceans.
Plastic bags are harmful to wildlife and marine life. Birds, animals and marine life such as sea turtles and fish often mistake the plastic bag and other plastic materials for food and consume them. What happens once they consume these plastic materials is that their digestive system gets congested leading to the development of health infections and death when there is suffocation. The animals may also become easily entangled inside the plastic.
Plastic bags are harmful to human health. There are some chemicals from the plastic bags which can disrupt the normal functioning of hormones in the body. Most plastic fragments in the oceans like plastic bags have some pollutants such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) together with PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) which are hormone disrupting. Once the marine animals consume these chemicals, they move through the food web then later into the humans who consume fish together with other marine animals. The chemical materials bio-accumulates in the sea animals and fish system as they are exposed to them in the ocean waters. When the humans prepare them they consume all these chemicals affecting their healths. They could develop cancers or other serious conditions.
Plastic bags are expensive and hard to clean or remove from the environment. The amount of plastic bag cleanup is around 17 cents per bag thus in average the taxpayers end up paying around $88 each year just on plastic bag waste. These plastic bags also cost 3-5 cents each. Thus, the plastic considered free is not free after all. Individuals pay a lot to purchase them and even for reusing them. For this reason, plastics should simply be banned.
Plastic bags have external costs. Several costs are attributed to the production of plastic bags. A prime example is the production and environmental costs.
Plastic bags are not easy to recycle. Plastic bags are said to present significant challenge in terms of recycling. Recycling facilities do not have the capacity to recycle plastic bags and thus do not accept them. Therefore, the actual recycling rate for plastic bags is around 5%.
Plastic bags tend to last more; perhaps forever and we even use so many of them. Plastic bags never degrade completely which shows that as more of them are produced by companies, then more are introduced into the environment. Therefore, the more the amount of plastic bags the more there is plastic pollution and its effects. Banning the use of plastic bags will help reduce this great effect. Even if we did decide to recycle plastic bags, these materials still do end up in oceans and landfills. Recycling the plastic bags does not affect the fact that they will still be dumped into the environment and end up into either landfills or oceans. These recycled plastic bags are not degradable and cause the same effects as non-recycled plastic bags.
These plastic bags are impacting the environment negatively in that they are making the Great Pacific garbage patch bigger every minute. Most of the plastic materials once released into the environment find their way into waterways and once they are there they dumped into oceans. Great Pacific Ocean is one such area negatively affected with all the plastic material. The more they are thrown into the oceans the more they increase causing the garbage patch to increase in size.
Bans should be adopted because they are greatly effective at reducing plastic big waste. China banned plastic bags and four years later, the amount of plastic bags thrown into the environment had reduced by 40 billion. If the US bans plastic bags, there would be fewer landfills.
Plastic bags help keep our streets clean. Most of our cities are not clean especially Indian and most African country streets because people don’t care to know where they throw their garbage. They do it in water bodies, streets and in the landfills. These wastes litter our streets making them look ugly affecting their aesthetic value.