» Home » Environment »
The effects of plastic bags on the environment are really quite devastating. While there are many objections to the banning of plastic bags based solely on their convenience, the damage to the environment needs to be controlled.
There is no way to strictly limit the effects of plastic bags on the environment because there is no disposal method that will really help eliminate the problem. While reusing them is the first step, most people either don't or can't based on store policies. They are not durable enough to stand up to numerous trips to the store so often the best that citizens can do is reuse them when following pooper scooper laws.
The biggest problem with this is that once they have been soiled the end up in the trash, which then ends up in the landfill or burned. Either solution is very poor for the environment. Burning emits toxic gases that harm the atmosphere and increase the level of VOCs in the air while landfills hold them indefinitely as part of the plastic waste problem throughout the globe.
Plastic Bag Litter
Even when citizens try to manage their plastic bag disposal wind plays a role in carrying them away as litter. This litter is not biodegradable and thus where it lands it tends to stay for long period of time. A bag that is eventually ripped to shreds from high winds or other factors doesn't disappear but instead is spread in smaller amounts throughout the area. This can cause more problems as these smaller pieces are carried away through storm drains and often end up in the waterways.
Plastic bag litter is often also the result of human laziness. The plastic bag might make for a good carry on to the beach for the day but once all of the pretzels and chips are consumed an estimated one in three consumers simply allow the bag to disappear into the wind and waves.
With more the 500 billion and possibly as many as a trillion plastic bags in circulation annually this can lead to a catastrophic littering problem. Not only is littering unattractive but it is also a very serious environmental hazard.
The Effects of Plastic Bags in Waterways
One of the greatest problems is that an estimated 300 million plastic bags end up in the Atlantic Ocean alone. These bags are very dangerous for sea life, especially those of the mammal variety. Any hunting mammal can easily mistake the size, shape, and texture of the plastic bag for a meal and find its airway is cut off. Needless deaths from plastic bags are increasing every year.
Porpoises are the most common victim. Because they eat sea nettles and jelly fish they are the most likely to mistake the plastic bag for food. If they survive the swallowing of the bag, it is unlikely that they are able to continue with normal digestion and thus eventually die a slow and painful death from toxicity or intestinal blockage.
The environmental balance of the waterways is being thrown off by the rate of plastic bags finding their way into the mouths and intestinal tracts of sea mammals. As one species begins to die off at an abnormal rate, every other living organism in the waterway is impacted. There are either too many or too few and changes within the environment continue to kill off yet more organisms.
The Effects of Plastic Bags on Land
The indefinite period of time that it takes for the average plastic bag to breakdown can be literally hundreds of years. Every bag that ends up in the woodlands of the country threatens the natural progression of wildlife. Because the break down rate is so slow the chances that the bag will harmlessly go away are extremely slim. Throughout the world plastic bags are responsible for suffocation deaths of woodland animals as well as inhibiting soil nutrients.
The land litter that is made up of plastic bags has the potential to kill over and over again. It has been estimated that one bag has the potential to unintentionally kill one animal per every three months due to unintentional digestion or inhalation. If you consider the number of littered plastic bags ranges from 1.5 million to 3 million depending on location, this equals a lot of ecosystem sustaining lives lost.
Without the balance of the ecosystem food sources dry up and starvation occurs. With an increase in plastic bag use throughout the world, the eventual effects could be literally devastating even to the human population.
Recycling Plastic Bags
While it's a noble thought to place the plastic bags in the recycling bin every week, studies have proven that there are very few plants that actually recycle them. Most municipalities either burn them or send them off to the landfill after sorting. This is because it can be expensive to recycle this type of plastic. It doesn't melt down easily and is often not realistically able to be reused from its original form without considerable overhaul to the facility.
The premise of recycling these bags is nice. Yet funding for the upgrades just has not happened and thus less than 1% of all bags sent to recycling plants world wide end up in the recycling project. Most are left to become a pollution problem in one way or another.
Alternatives to Plastic Bags
There are always alternatives to plastic bags and the search for more alternatives continues. Paper bags are a possible option but they also take their toll on the environment. The use of trees to increase the production of paper products combined with the increased energy that is required to make paper bags will also have a negative environmental effect.
Reusable plastic bags are being introduced to regions that want to outlaw the plastic bag altogether. These are stronger and more durable and can be used for three to five trips to the store.
Of course, the reusable cloth bag is fast becoming a favorite among environmental supporters. While thus far no bag is without its issues these are the bags that are currently recommended for use to help protect environmental concerns.
Related Articles And Other Topics
- Comment #1 (Posted by jimmybobobfred)
hi this is the best health guidance yet AWSM
- Comment #2 (Posted by an unknown user)
Very nice thinking, awesome
- Comment #3 (Posted by Esme)
THIS SITE WAS VERY USEFUL BUT I WOULD PREFER A FEW MORE ANSWERS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF PLASTIC BAGS AND AN INCREASE OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF REUSING BAGS!!!!!!!!!!! XXX :)
THANKS A LOT, LOVE
- Comment #4 (Posted by Jonathan)
This article makes a few good points. However, this bias is very prevalent and so isn't a reliable source. No list of sources for statistics.
- Comment #5 (Posted by pcarizona)
What about the millions of large lawn/trash bags disposed in landfills every year and all the similar trash disposed by businesses and restaurants every year?
- Comment #6 (Posted by Tharindu Keshan)
This is very useful to my studies because this is excellent.
- Comment #7 (Posted by David)
This has a lot of good information though it is quite repetitive. This needs to be more additive (not repetitive).
- Comment #8 (Posted by Caitlynladams2002@gmail.com)
I am writing a persuasive report in class and it was very helpful and useful.
- Comment #9 (Posted by uzayr)
very helpful, thanks guys
- Comment #10 (Posted by thameenah)
- Comment #11 (Posted by Angie)
This helped me a lot, thank u!
- Comment #12 (Posted by an unknown user)
That is good
- Comment #13 (Posted by Palak Bahl)
VERY VERY VERY HELPFUL!!!!!!!!
- Comment #14 (Posted by Jerwin)
Can I have your permission to use it for my research and become related review? Thank you.
- Comment #15 (Posted by an unknown user)
How recent is this article? I can't find the date it was published.
- Comment #16 (Posted by an unknown user)
It was very well written
- Comment #17 (Posted by an unknown user)
- Comment #18 (Posted by an unknown user)
nice but long...
- Comment #19 (Posted by an unknown user)
This helped me a lot! Thank you for this amazing report!!! Thank you so much bby, ily
- Comment #20 (Posted by Kayla)
Very well written. Good job... very detailed. :)
- Comment #21 (Posted by an unknown user)
Thank you, I am in the enviro team at my school and this has given me a lot of information for a project I'm working on at school.
- Comment #22 (Posted by an unknown user)
Very helpful THNX:)
- Comment #23 (Posted by Elizabeth)
This was very helpful! Someone had mentioned that your article was too long, but I disagree. I often find articles that are lengthy and wordy. I enjoyed reading this. It was straight to the point. I am also doing research for a speech I am giving on plastic bags, and I wanted to know if I can use your article. Of course, I will have a citation written in APA format given to, my professor and credited to you for my audience.
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.
- 10 points on harmful effects of plastic
- harmful effects of plastic in points
- harmful effects of plastic essay
- essay on harmful effects of plastic bags
- harmful effects of plastic bags essay
- harmful effects of plastic bags in points
- essay on harmful effects of polythene bags
- effect of plastic on environment essay
- harmful effects of plastic
- Harmful effects of plastic bags