By Sylvia Ubal Source: diarioecologia.com
The sad story of plastic bags, bags and harmless practices that we “give away” and accumulate in the corners of our kitchens have become a real environmental problem, as time goes on will become a severe environmental crisis worldwide if urgent global action is taken.
To manufacture plastic bags needed by the natural non-renewable resource, oil, besides being a fossil fuel that generates pollution is running. And waste it making more bags made of plastic? Each year worldwide occur approximately between 500 billion and a trillion bags given away in shops, supermarkets and shopping facilities and that will become waste a few minutes of use, as we have become dependent on these practices but dangerous and polluting ways of loading our purchases.
However, who cares about the fate of plastic bags?, Especially in a consumer society and environmental subculture that no one stops to think of the damage that indirectly causes the environment every time you leave a mall carrying with it the kind of plastic containers, on reaching home, the intended temporarily to save or wrapping an object, but will eventually give the deposit of garbage, if not the boot is on the street and most of these are to our rivers, lakes, seas and oceans of the world through drains and gullies and hopefully in huge waste deposits, where to degrade must wait five hundred years or more to disappear, while in the midst of the decomposition process contaminate the soil not only visually but also chemically.
About 100,000 marine animals such as penguins, whales, turtles, seals, fish, porpoises, seabirds and dolphins die each year due to ingestion of plastic bags that have become garbage and filled seas and oceans and the worst is that a once the victim has died and decomposed, the plastic bag is not degraded and again a mortal element for other animals.
A plastic bottle can have a life of 450 years, thousands of non-biodegradable millimeter, very sturdy and stable fragments, are a threat to these animals often mistake them for food.
20% of the garbage collected from the beaches are plastic bags with bottles of liquor, sodas, beer and other cans; This means that in addition to causing the death of many species have become polluting the landscape and accumulates on beaches around the world, thanks to the people who throw away without any consideration or care waste.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences USA conducted a study on the subject, having been determined that oceangoing vessels together dumped 4 million kilos of plastic at sea, and that is the reason why landfills world are saturated plastic bags; while many of them are drawn to different places on Earth. Plastic bags have been found floating in the North of the Arctic Circle and the Falkland Islands.
In China, a major concern is garbage, plastic bags flying around the streets are called “white pollution”. Now save 37 million barrels of oil every year thanks to the ban on free plastic bags.
In South Africa, the bags are so prominent in the field who have earned the contemptuous title because broken and tangled in the bushes “national flower” we announce that we are approaching a city, or you see out floating from the window of a carriage.
Taking drastic measures
Some countries are taking drastic measures against the use of plastic bags. In some countries they have simply decided that if someone wants your bag in the hold, costing pennies. Drastic and effective measure but does not attack the root of the problem.
Among the countries that have banned or taken action to discourage the use of plastic bags is Ireland, which was the first in Europe to taxing plastic bags in 2002. This has reduced consumption by 90 %. Australia, Bangladesh, Italy, South Africa and Taiwan. Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, has also banned the bags. Israel, Canada, western India, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Taiwan and Singapore have also banned plastic bags.
The March 27, 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags, according to NPR.org (National Public Radio). Oakland and Boston are considering a ban.
Australians used about 7,000 million bags a year, and about 1,200 million a year gave them free in Ireland before government restrictions, according to government estimates.
Ireland has a tax legislative proposals for a tax of nearly 20 percent for end customers have had to pay for each plastic bag since March 2002. Use of plastic bags in Ireland dropped by more than 90 percent after the tax was approved, and the government has raised millions of dollars for recycling programs. Similar legislation was introduced some time ago in Scotland and is under discussion in the rest of the UK.
In Australia, about 90 percent of retailers have signed voluntary agreements with the government to reduce the use of plastic bags. A law that took effect last year requires that restaurants, supermarkets and warehouses, charge customers for bags and plastic utensils. This law has resulted in a 69% reduction in the use of plastic products, according to press reports.
“Every piece of litter has a human face behind. If they are a harm to the environment in terms of visual impairment, then people need to stop littering the environment, “said Rob Krebs, spokesman for the American Plastics Council.
Studies by a California environmental group on the use of plastic bags is estimated that Americans use about 84 billion plastic bags annually.
The first plastic bags for sandwiches were introduced in 1957. Department stores started using plastic bags in the late 1970s and supermarket chains began using in the early eighties Fortunately, many countries are to raising awareness banning plastic bags typical and / or replacing them with biodegradable bags.
What can we do?
While the laws do not change, we must be aware of the danger of their use and avoid using bags of other materials that can be used many times while shopping.
If we use a cloth bag, we can save 6 bags a week, 24 bags per month, 288 bags per year, 22,176 bags in an average lifetime.
If only 1 in 5 people in our country did this, we would save 1,330,560,000,000 bags over our lives.
Another possibility is to be careful in how we dispose of them, not the boats in the countryside or the beach, try to deposit them in places authorized to leave rubbish.
Another useful way is recycling them; The bags you bring the cart use them to deposit your trash instead of buying more plastic to put your garbage in bags. And finally we educate our children the importance of caring for our environment and the damage we are doing.
If we take these small measures at our disposal, which do not involve a lot of effort and summed among all can avoid enormous damage to our mother earth and those who live in it. Use non-returnable plastic bags is a way to collaborate and curb pollution and improve the state of the planet.