Why say no to plastic bags?

We are in the second half of 2017 and we are still trying to protect the environment and educate the public. For the rest of the year, we point out some points and hope that we can help preserve the earth by considering them. In the previous articles, things like buying plant containers were mentioned, so that the use of plant strong disposable containers can be a suitable alternative to plastic containers for our daily activities, and in this way, it helps to reduce the use of plastic and the production of plastic waste. Now, let’s make a commitment to say no to plastic bags in our shopping. In countries such as England, from early October 2015, all supermarkets charged a fee of 5 pence for plastic bags, which caused the number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in the UK to face a sharp drop of 85%. This plan was implemented in England after successful implementation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But plastic bags are still available in other countries and it is tempting to use them especially when you forget to have a shopping bag. However, most of the time the use of these bags is redundant and avoidable. Before you use plastic bags, remember that more than 100,000 marine animals die from suffocation from plastic left in the water. The leatherback turtle, an endangered species, can maintain itself in cold water and swim more than 1000 meters below sea level and save itself from human dangers. But this animal is threatened by plastic bags left in the water.

Why say no to plastic bags?

Because plastic bags:

  1. They are made from petroleum materials which are a non-renewable resource.
  2. They are biodegradable and break down into smaller particles when they break down in nature, but they never break down completely.
  3. Marine animals (especially sea turtles) inadvertently consume them as food.
  4. Next to cigarette butts and polystyrene foams, they form the largest amount of waste.
  5. They make up the majority of our office waste.
  6. Like diamonds, plastics last forever.

What should we do?

Use eco-friendly bags or cloth bags. Eco-friendly bags take up less space than plastic bags. Also, ask the sellers to advertise biodegradable bags or cloth bags and consider an additional fee for using these bags or give a discount percentage to encourage consumers to use biodegradable or cloth bags.

Many countries have identified this global problem and are making serious efforts to prevent the use and production of plastic bags. Also, in many European and Asian countries, they have tried to eliminate or completely ban plastic bags, or they are taking steps to reduce their use by implementing laws such as taxes on the use of these bags. In Bangladesh, plastic bags have been completely banned since early 2002 because they were believed to be the main cause of floods in 1988 and 1998 that submerged two-thirds of the country. The government of Bangladesh later replaced these bags with bags made from jute, a natural fiber. Also, in 2001, Bombay Council banned the use of plastic bags because they were left on the streets and clogging the city’s sewage system. In Ireland, a 15 cent tax on plastic bags was introduced in March 2002, which reduced the number of plastic bags in stores by 90%.

Ultimately, the most effective way to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment is to reduce our consumption. We should not wait for our governments to provide solutions to solve the problem of plastic bags. The change must come from us, the consumers.

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