Plastic bags provide convenience at the store and around the home. A recent push to reduce use of plastic bags is based on information concerning their negative impacts. Reusable bags offer an affordable and durable alternative to plastic bags. Some stores offer small discounts on your total bill if you bring your own bags.
Polyethylene bags are the most common plastic bags. These bags are made from crude oil and natural gas according to the New York Times. Both oil and gas are nonrenewable energy sources, meaning they are in limited supply. The mining and manufacturing process of fossil fuels creates pollution.
Estimates of the number of plastic bags used around the world each year vary in range from 100 million to a trillion according to a New York Times article. Since only a small portion of these bags is recycled, many plastic bags are left to enter the waste stream. The bags will likely take about 1,000 years to decompose. Because such a large number of bags are produced and it takes a long time for them to decompose, the plastic bags that are thrown away create a lot of waste in the landfills on top of the trash that may be inside of them.
A plastic bag is most often usable once or twice if the contents placed into it aren't too heavy. When heavy items, such as canned foods or bottles, are placed in the bag, the handles are more likely to break. Double-bagging the goods is a common practice, but this practice uses more bags and creates more trash. A reusable cloth bag is much more durable and able to withstand repeated use. The handles are more sturdy, making them better equipped to handle heavier items.
Plastic bags introduced into the environment present a hazard for various animals. When plastic bags aren't properly disposed, they may eventually make their way to bodies of water. According to the EPA, this often happens when they are washed into storm drains, sewers and streams.
Plastic bags in the water may get wrapped around marine animals. Sea turtles sometimes swallow plastic bags because they resemble jellyfish. The plastic bags may make the animals suffocate or starve to death.
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Plastic is one of the most important things in the modern life of human being. It can be molded into any desired shape. It is cheap as compared to other materials and has more strength. It is a part of our day-to-day life.
But, Plastic also carries a lot of disadvantages. It is harmful to the environment. It cannot be quickly degraded and damages the atmosphere if burnt. It can prevent seeping of water into the soil, reaching sunlight into water.
The toxic chemical released during the production of plastic is another demerit. Plastic has given numerous benefits to human life but It is also a cause of global warming and pollution in our surrounding. Let’s take a look at the negative effects of plastic in detail:
Plastic pollutes soil: Plastic buried in soil can release a toxic chemical which mixes into the ground making it harmful for agriculture and human use, it can also seep into the ground and mix with groundwater. This makes the water unhealthy for human consumption and agricultural use. Sometimes plastic such as polythene bags, get buried under the soil, this makes the soil toxic.
Plastic pollutes ocean: Plastic objects are left over into the ocean for biodegrading it. Plastics degrades faster in the sea, but it also leaves the harmful chemical into it, making it even more dangerous to the life on the earth. It increases the chance of Global Warming. The garbage thrown into the sea such as plastic utensils, polythene, etc. keeps floating into the sea. This prevents the sunlight from reaching the ground level of the sea. As a result, the life in the ocean doesn’t get enough sunlight. This prevents them from developing and stops their growth.
Plastic releases toxic when burned: In many rural and even urban areas, people set old plastic objects on fire in hope to get rid of it. Plastic contains a lot of chemicals which gets released into the atmosphere and mixes with the natural air. This makes the air we breath toxic and harmful. As a result, the air we breath is not pure and contains many types of hazardous chemical. When we breath contaminated air, it hurts our lungs and overall health in the long run.
Also read:Negative impact of technology on our lives
Some ways to stop pollution due to plastic are:-
- Use jute bag instead of polythene
Polythene bags contribute a significant percentage to the usage of plastic. We use polythene bags most of the time. From buying vegetables from market to carrying goods. Polythene bags are very hazardous to the environment. They are non-biodegradable, and it is hard to get rid of this material. It can also cause harm to water life, human beings, and the environment. So, try to use jute bags when you go shopping.
- Reuse reusable plastic bottle
Nowadays, reusable plastic is used, which means you can refill these bottles with water and use them again. However, make sure that bottle is reusable otherwise toxic from the bottle may mix with the water.
Mostly CDs are made of poly-carbonate plastic. Every year, millions of CDs are sold. We can use pen drives or portable hard disks for carrying data as they can carry a large amount of data compared to CDs and are reusable too.
Apart from this, governments need to take some serious actions as well to stop the plastic usage where alternatives are available. It’s high time that the world understands the negative impact of plastic on nature. Do share your thoughts in the comments below.
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