Discuss the environmental impact of plastic bags and the measures that should be taken to reduce detrimental effects of plastic on the environment.
In the last decade, plastic bag is one of the most recognizable and useful inventions that can be seen in daily lives. However, there is a downside due to overuse of plastic bags to the environment. The use of plastic bags impact on environment such as the waste during the manufacture and the negative usage of plastic bags. On the other hand, there are several ways to overcome these problems like reduce the use of plastic bags and law enforcements.
One of the environmental impacts is a large amount of waste products are created, during the produce of plastics in the factory. The waste products have been divided into different waste streams that is gaseous, liquid, solid due to different types of raw materials are used. For example, the gaseous waste products are discharged such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are the factors of causing global warming and air pollution. Besides, the effluent from the sewerage system leads to water pollution which affects the balance of the ecosystem. For example, producers used the effluent to water the plants in their country (What is the environmental impact of plastics n.d.).
The other environmental impact is caused by when plastic bags are used. Non-degradable plastic bag can be kept around a thousand of years, because non-renewable materials are used to make it. The land that are filled up with plastic bags are very dangerous to flora and fauna. For example, there are about a million of sea bird, 100,000 sea mammals and limitless of fish are died because of plastic bags every year. Plastic bag is very light and can stay on the surface of water with a long time. Directly, many marine lives are died with plastics, because the plastics bags are thought for foods. For example, 7150 recyclable plastic bags are dropped by Australian every minute. Besides, the plastic bags or landfills cost public more than AUD $4 million to clean it up every year (Say no to plastic bags n.d.).
However, a way to resolve the effect of plastics is minimize the use of plastic bags. Government should make the encouragement in the use of fabric bags and public should always ask for paper bags because paper bag can be recycled. The other way to pack or reuse the plastic bag until it can’t be used anymore. For example, when household are shopping for the groceries, they can choose to pack the items themselves until the maximum capacity of the plastic bag. Also, instead the non-degradable plastic bags with biodegradable plastic bags. This is because most of the biodegradable plastic bags can crumble in around 2 weeks (eHow 1999).
Furthermore, the other way to decrease the effects of plastics is to emphasize law enforcement to public such as forbids the use of plastic bags. For example, South Australia was the first state that executed this action. Government also encouraged the charge on plastic bags like 10-cent is charged with every plastic bag. An example in Victoria, there are three main supermarkets success to decrease the amount of plastic by 79% in the period of 12 months. Jon Dee who is the organizer of Planet Ark and The National Plastic Bag Campaign suggests that the good way is to set up an organization for the charge of plastic bags (Mcfarlane 2009).
In short, plastic bags are very useful, but it will pollute the environment such as flora and fauna are affected by the waste products and the overuse of plastic bags. Nevertheless, government resolves these problems with laws and controls the use of plastic bags. In my opinion, plastic bags do bring convenience. However, there are many impacts due to the overuse of plastic bags still requires co-operation to ensure as green future for the future generations.