So What Is The Big Fuss About Plastic Bags?
Well the first thing to accept is that they are everywhere. Almost everything that you can purchase comes wrapped in plastic. Food, beverages and other products are very often packaged and sealed in a layer of plastic at least.
When you consider that plastic is made from petroleum, and made to last for years (like thousands of years), it is a worry that most of it is used only once before being discarded.
Why Is It So Widespread?
There is no denying the convenience that plastic has afforded us. Food can be kept hygienic, we can grab a cheap drink and dispose of the bottle in a moment – we can use and discard bags, cups, straws, wrappers and more without getting our hands dirty.
But the problem is in plain view. With 1 million bags made per minute in the world, resulting in 3.5 million tonnes of waste per year (just plastic bags) there is no way we can continue on this path.
A whopping 50% of single-use plastic ends up in landfill sites, with a mere 5% being recycled. And what about the rest? It is simply ‘unaccounted for’. The following video created by ‘Boomerang Bags’ gives a tongue-in-cheek suggestion of where they might go.
More than anywhere else the problem with plastic bags can be measured in the Ocean. The combination of waves, sea and sun cause them to break down into tiny particles where they can be ingested by seabirds, fish and other wildlife.
The following is an excerpt from a study published by Greenpeace:
Ingestion of marine debris is known to particularly affect sea turtles and seabirds but is also a problem for marine mammals and fish. Ingestion is generally thought to occur because the marine debris is mistaken for prey. Most of that erroneously ingested is plastic. Different types of debris are ingested by marine animals including plastic bags, plastic pellets and fragments of plastic that have been broken up from larger items.The biggest threat from ingestion occurs when it blocks the digestive tract, or fills the stomach, resulting in malnutrition, starvation and potentially death.
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