The Problem Of Plastic Bags And Why They Should Be Banned

Have you ever imagined how dangerous your shopping bag is for the environment? In the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, 'International policies to reduce plastic marine pollution from single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads): A review,' the authors Dirk Xanthos and Tony Walker states that depending upon size plastic bags can be categorized into are two types; macroplastics generally larger in size with the diameter greater than 5mm and microplastics which are smaller than this benchmark. Microplastics are further of two types: primary microplastics which are also known as microbeads and secondary microplastics that are formed by the breakdown of plastic bags. Research indicates that microplastics possess more threat to the environment as compared to the other type. Though versatility of plastic makes it one of the most widely used product in day to day lives; lack of after-use management strategies make it evil for nature. The essay discusses the usage of plastic bags, serious effects associated with its use, how the government is concerned about those matters, and what supposed be the ultimate solution to this massive issue.

Marine animals are the worst suffers of is improper waste management system. Plastic (especially microbeads) are so small that aquatic animals mistook them as their food, and later these particles damage the tissues and organ of the animal leading them to die. These tiny particles adsorb chemicals on their surface much faster than the seawater; and when swallowed by the sea creature cause asphyxiation, and ultimately death. Not only this but fishing ropes and nets thrown by fishermen are a major cause of complication among sea organisms. These large items weaken the strength and flexibility of the creatures, and this affects their ability to ingest and respire properly under the sea. For example, investigation of a dead shark at one of the shores of France in 2002, revealed large amounts of plastic in its stomach (Grosenick, 2017). There is no doubt in saying that plastic was the cause of its death, and this shows how it affects the life of marine animals.

Plastic bags have a series of negative impacts on marine animals, plants, human health and the economy. Human beings are also greatly affected by this plastic problem. Most of these particles enter the human body through seafood consumed by them. Various manufacturers are using microbeads in the cosmetic products utilized by humans. These microbeads are used in place of naturally occurring substances and are extremely harmful to them (Walker & Xanthos, 2017). Research conducted by the American Medical Association found that plastic contains different types of chemical substances which can cause a series of disorders such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, obesity etc. among humans. Plastic dumped in landfills also discharges dangerous chemicals in the soil, which slowly with rains either reach oceans or pollute the groundwater, which intensely affects human beings (Grosenick, 2017). For example, the influence of plastic can be understood by findings made by the Royal Society of London, which found plastic in 80% of the infants and almost all adult human beings.

Plastic bags adversely affect the world economy. Firstly, tourism is considerably affected due to these bags in the oceans. They pollute the seas, which lead to declination in the tourists visiting the tourist areas; also, the expenditure loss made to clean up the waste, adds up the costs. These particles affect the health of aquatic animals as well as humans, which in turn put a negative impact over to the economy (Walker & Xanthos, 2017). Plastic sometimes gets choked into the propellers and motor of the ships, which is a big headache for the shipmen, and this also bothers the shipping time of goods by the ocean. A large number of fishes die due to ingestion of plastic; and this in a way, affects the fishermen who are directly dependent on them for their livelihood. These bags result in great loss for the farmers because plastic degrades the quality of soil and affect the growing ability of the crops. For example, research made by the United Nations indicates that almost 13 billion dollars are spent every year to overcome the damage caused by synthetic (Grosenick, 2017). Further, it leads to loss of energy resources; ‘The United States uses 12 million barrels of oil annually to produce plastic bags’.

Consequently, plastic has numerous worsening-effects on the ecosystem. The biggest problem associated with the plastic bag is its complex structure; plastic can stay for thousands of years into the environment without even getting decomposed, this makes it terrible for the ecosystem, and even after long periods, it just broke down into smaller and smaller pieces (Grosenick, 2017). Nowadays, manufacturers add minute plastic particles, also known as microbeads in cosmetic products used by humans. The drainage of these particles takes place from the wastewater pipeline, and current wastewater treatment systems are not capable of eliminating these tiny fragments and therefore, they enter ocean water quite easily (Walker & Xanthos, 2017). The problem is not limited to microbeads only but, thin plastic bags are easily carried away by the wind, and cause air pollution. Incineration of plastic releases dangerous gases into the environment, which are very harmful to human beings. For example, 'An estimated 8 trillion microbeads are released into aquatic environments daily via wastewater treatment plants' (Walker & Xanthos, 2017, p. 18), this reveals how hard would be the situation for the aquatic animals and the environment.

There is no doubt saying that globally, plastic has become one of the most critical issues, and the governments all over the world are implementing various bans and regulations towards its use. Different countries use a variety of different strategies to fight against this problem. For example, the concept of five pence per plastic bag by the U.K. government has significantly reduced the number of people using plastic bags (Walker & Xanthos, 2017). Other than this, the governments are planning to regulate the usage of synthetic straws used with drinks. Further action involves the return-back scheme of plastic bottles and the producer of the product responsive for its proper disposal (Walker & Xanthos, 2018). VTT a research institute in Finland; is searching for microbes that will help in digesting plastic and converting it into other useful products. These plastic degrading microbial stations would be set up at places where currently there is no recycling possible and would work with the power of the winds and the sun (NewsRx Health, 2018). One of the international policies to combat this problem is the Honolulu strategy which involves an extensive worldwide action plan based on charging fees for each plastic bag and implementing laws banning single-use plastic products. In some countries, plastic is not prohibited at the federal level but still; different state governments have imposed their regulations over the subject. For example, in the United States, different states have either banned plastic bags or circulated a fee over their use.  

16 December 2021
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now