Plastic bags have been introduced in 1970’s decade and it gained a huge popularity amongst consumers and retailers. There are numerous factories which are causing plastic bag pollution because of the popularity for shopping purposes thanks to its ease, cheapness and convenience of use but unfortunately the hazardous negative impact of these bags is never highlighted or, at the very least, openly discussed in a more serious tone. The scenario is exacerbated in Yemen as economically disadvantaged country. Many countries have now stated ban on use of plastic bags due to communal alarm over its serious negative impact on the environment and agriculture, such as: Yemen, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa, etc. Surveys are being conducted to know the using and re-using pattern of plastic bags among the consumers and how much they are aware about the impact of plastic bag pollution. The findings of the survey indicate that irrespective of sex, age, educational qualification and profession majority of the respondents use plastic bags in their daily life activities and all are aware about the plastic bag pollution and its negative impact on environment.
Plastic bags are prepared from polymers or polymer resin, both of which require oil or natural gas to production. Mentioned in New York Times, the 100 billion bags used per year in America require an estimated 12 million barrels of oil in their production. Since approximately 25 percent of plastic bags used in the west are made in Asia, more fossil fuels have to be used to transport the bags to their destination.
This is our behavior over the use of plastic that has been influencing an undeniable behavioral inclination of increasingly over-consuming, discarding, littering and thus polluting, which ultimately has become a combination of lethal nature. Black polythene bags are more dangerous for humans because of their repeated usage without proper recycling, thus exposing consumers to serious ailments including intestine infections, vomiting, digestive problems and premature births.
The Impact on oceans and food
Every year, approximately 500 billion plastic bags were used including 50pc one time globally where about eight million tons plastic ends up in canals, rivers and oceans, which is equivalent to a truck filled with garbage every minute worldwide. Micro plastic, which can’t be seen with naked eye, when comes in contact with heat, it is converted into smaller particles causing air pollution and become part of food cycle of human, fish, wildlife and mammals in land by putting their lives at heightening danger, representing one of the most sneaky way of plastic bag pollution.
In addition to polluting grazing lands and tourists sites, he said non-biodegradable bags mostly find their way to open garbage dumps, landfill sites or municipal sewers, making sewage disposal systems less efficient cause flash flooding in urban areas and increase cost of utility operations.
Solutions and alternatives for preventing Plastic Bag Pollution:
There are heaps of masses of debris floating around in that water and most of it is plastic. There are many small ways you can have a big impact and given below are some solutions which will help make Earth an eternity:
Stop purchasing plastic cans/water bottles:
Each year, close to 20 billion plastic bottles is tossed in the trash. Carry a reusable bottle in your bag, and you’ll never be caught having to resort to a Nestle, Poland Spring or Evian again. If you’re doubt about the quality of your local tap water, look for a model with a built-in filter.
Government should induce a bag tax or ban:
- Minimum thickness of carry bags shall not be less than 50 microns.
- Retailers shall not give plastic carry bags free of cost to the Consumers.
- Consumers have liberty and are advised to bring his own carry bag.
Over 60% of used or wasted plastic medical equipment is burnt rather than dumped in a landfill as a preventative measure to reduce the transmission of infections. This has meaningfully decreased the quantity of plastic waste from medical departments.
Growing fungus That Eats Plastic:
It’s a recent discovery that Aspergillus Tubingensis, is a plastic eating fungus that lives in the soil. It discharges enzymes which helps breaking down the polymer chains that hold plastic together.
This research is still on for knowing the optimal condition for this organism to thrive in, after which, it will be introduced to begin the process of plastic eating.
Spreading awareness, education and taking action upon the plastic bag pollution:
We should educate via interactive presentations, film screenings, mini cleanups with citizen science, trivia nights and games etc. Working on an event such as a film screening, trivia night or activity in a local school will not only raise awareness in your town, but also helps people to learn how others are making a difference and starts a conversation about how they can also bring about change. We should help our school or communities learn how to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle in fun and innovative ways.
Buy reusable items:
Act like a sensible consumer and steer away from single-use plastic items. Instead, buy in bulk or opt for reusable items like bottles or cups. The influence of this choice outspreads beyond your own home as your money has control. To make a real impact, however, you’ll need to make sure you get the most from your reusable item.
- One must promote canvas bags with seeds to plant more for having a cleaner and healthier environment. These bags are now being used by many great companies to promote a safe and healthy world.
- One can also opt for paper bags instead of choosing plastic ones.
- One should boycott micro beads. The little plastic scrubbers are generally found in number of beauty products, toothpaste, facial scrubs and body washes which apparently looks harmless, but their tiny size allows them to slip through water-treatment plants.
- One can bring their own bags to the store, silverware to the office, or travel mug to Starbucks before it becomes habit for creating a difference.