Everyday people around the world use different types of plastic bags in their lives. They may use it for carrying groceries, to using it to for their lunch and even putting their dirty garments in them. Yes, plastic bags are convenient, but researchers say they are causing serious problems to the ecosystem. Some people believe that plastic bags should not be banned because it will cause other environmental issues and it will be an inconvenience to people’s daily life.
People may not also know what chemicals are being used to make plastics bags and how it’s effecting our body and the food we consume. Not to mention do people know where plastic bags end up at when they are not disposed properly? In 2017, Park City, Utah was the first city to ban plastic grocery bags. In Los Angeles alone more than 22,000 pounds of plastic are being carried into the Pacific Ocean daily.
Most often plastic bags get dumped in the landfill and eventually get broken down into small pieces. When a storm or a heavy wind occur the pieces of plastic get drifted and turn up in the soil and in the water supply. When this occurs, it becomes hazardous because it releases toxic that contaminate the wildlife and the sea animals and eventually finds its way to the body.
Studies have proven that only 9 percent of plastic have been recycled in the last seven decades. Expert say that disposable plastic bags stick around the ecosystem for more than 1,000 years. Plastic is a man-made material which is non-biodegradable and will take decades for it to disintegrate. Although, plastic bags get broken up in small pieces, diminutive pieces remain which makes it impossible to ever get rid of plastic bags. In the Scholastic Choice article, Should Plastic Bags Be Banned the choice writes, “If we could learn to prevent the problems that come with plastic, we’ll be taking a bold and important step to creating a better, safer planet” (p.2-5)
Researchers have found that the chemicals that are used to make plastic force their way into the food and beverages we eat. These chemicals have been related to health problems such as metabolism disorders including obesity and has even minimized fertility. Pregnant women and their fetus are at higher risk when these chemicals leach on to their food when they are put in plastic bags. These chemicals are released even more onto the food when it is heated in a microwave.
There are different types of chemical names that make up for different plastic products. Just to name a few polypropylene, polycarbonate and polyethylene and some of these chemicals also contain different properties such as plasticizers, antioxidants, and color dye. There are also 2 other chemicals that are worrisome called Phthalates and Bisphenol A known as (BPA) and are endocrine disrupters.
They both have substance that interfere with active human hormones and can cause to people to get a deadly disease. Phthalates is a harmful substance that releases toxicants in the male reproduction, and it is also known to harm females too. Studies have proven that Bisphenol A has reproductive substance that effect both humans and small mammals. “It’s hard to say without knowing the exact structure of the plastics and any additives in the plastic” (Harvard Women’s Health Watch p.2)
Paper bags have caused a huge problem to the ecosystem, hurting the animals and plants which has caused the entire world to be concerned about the environment. Plastic bags are made of lightweight material so it makes it easy for them to travel through the air and end up in the ocean. Due to the large amount of floating plastic waste, it has caused an enormous amount of contaminated toxic substance to be released in the marine life. After so many years of toxic chemicals just filtering the ocean, bacteria has developed and has effected the entire sea life and has moved up to the food chain.
Some of the small sea animals mistakenly eat the floating plastic bags thinking its food and it causes them to choke and die. There has been countless of cases where birds are getting caught in plastic bags and then are unable to fly and end up strangling and suffocating there self to death. According to research, thirty-five percent of turtle deaths are caused by plastic ingestion (Technology Times). The same thing is happening to other animals around the world because of plastic bags not being disposed properly.
In addition to this when plastic bags are being consumed it clogs up their intestinal tracts causing them to have health issues, infections and malnourished. Despite this, there is no denying that plastic bags have made peoples life convenient. But people can get educated and promote positive changes to save the environment. If plastic bags weren’t an option the world would be a better place. It is very important for people to know and understand the harmful massive effect that plastic bags have on the environment, wild animals and the marine life.
Furthermore, banning plastic bags may sound unrealistic but people need to be smarter how to reduce waste. Most importantly people need to care about their health and avoid using plastic products to store their food much less expose it to heat. Last but not least all plastic products contain many toxic substance that are harmful to human health.