The Danger Caused by the Use of Plastic Bags:
Plastic shopping bags create a serious threat to the environment and government of the countries should pay great attention to this problem. Plastic shopping bags are used in many countries of the world. They are popular among many stores, as they are convenient for customers and sellers. They are cheap to produce and that is the reason manufactures gladly use them. In addition, they are convenient in use and that is the reason customer also like them. Unfortunately, there are several serious disadvantages, which show that the use of plastic bags should be limited or even prohibited. Plastic bags are usually made of polyethylene of high or low density.
There are several major disadvantages, caused by the use of plastic bags. First of all they cause great problems to the waste disposal. They also cause big problems with recycling and reduction. Plastic has a very low level of degradability. Petrochemicals which are used for the production of plastic bags are nonrenewable elements. Plastic bags can cause serious damage to the wild life if they are not disposed in a proper way. Proper disposal of plastic bags is an expansive thing and many organizations that must take care about disposal do not pay necessary attention to the problem. If not disposed, plastic bags, which are on-biodegradable, stay indisposed. Sometimes plastic bags are used for several minutes only, but their disposal requires about 1000 years. In the cases when plastic bags are not disposed in a proper way, they also bring serious harm to the environment. Petrochemicals and polyethylene create dangerous compounds, which bring much harm to the environment. The use of plastic bags contributes to the greenhouse gases, which cause greenhouse effect.
If the process of warming does not stop by the end of 21st century, the temperature of our atmosphere will be warmer then now. It may sound not very frightening but in fact it is very dangerous and can cause irreversible global changes. Global warming will have impacts on the sea level, storms and floods and rainfalls. It goes without saying that it will also affect human health, water supplies, agriculture and animal life. The future changes of climate can be predicted with the help of computers. At first scientists calculate how much pollution will be produced by the mankind and then they have a possibility to find how this pollution will influence the Earth’s climate. If people do not stop to pollute the atmosphere, as they do it today, by 2100 the average temperature may be 3°C warmer then today. It will be very harmful for the plant and animal species. It even may happen that some of them will vanish from the face of the earth. The global warming does not endanger only some species of plants and animals. If the atmosphere becomes warmer because of human pollution droughts, storms, tornadoes, heat waves and floods can be much stronger and occur more frequently. Because of the warming more water will evaporate from rivers and oceans and the humidity in the air will increase. It means that in some places it will cause frequent landslides and floods and in others it will lead to droughts. It is obvious that the level of the sea won’t stay constant if the global warming continues. Only during the 20th century sea level has increased by a quarter and it is only the beginning. For the past 100 years sea level has been rising about two mm each year and the end of the century changes are evident. The melting of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland will rise sea level in the 21st century (Holt, 315). Consequences of this process may be terrible – some towns and even countries will be flooded. All in all, it is only scientists’ predictions and they won’t come true if we stop the pollution of our environment but most people agree that the global warming will take place in the 21st century. Scientists predict that the speed of changes will be fast, much faster then the speed of other natural changes that have ever taken place in our history. Being one of the sources of the greenhouse gases, plastic bags create serious danger to the environment and this danger can not be neglected.
There are several alternative solutions, which could have helped to resolve the problem of plastic bags. Paper bags are much easier to recycle and cause less damage to the environment. The use of plastics bags produced from Polylactic acid can become another alternative decision, which would reduce danger caused by the use of plastic bags made of polyethylene. Polylactic acid is a biodegradable polymer, which derives from lactic acid. This acid is a form of bioplastic, which is much less dangerous than polyethylene. Bioplastic biodegrades quickly in contrast to polyethylene which needs many years for this process. In addition, bioplastic does not leave toxic residue. Unfortunately, many countries do not take into account alternatives to the plastic bags and use polyethylene bags, which cause much harm to the environment. Government does not pay necessary attention to the problem of plastic bags disposal.
Fortunately, there are counties, which start paying attention to the environmental issue and pay attention to the danger created by the use of plastic bags. This way the Republic of Ireland implemented a 15 cent levy on each plastic shopping bag. Such an initiative resulted in the quick decrease of the plastic bags use. People started the use of reusable bags instead. Many manufactures turned to the use of paper bags or even stops the use of bags at all. This initiative made other countries to think about the ways to reduce the negative impact of plastic bags use. Starting from 2003 Australia implemented a program, which encourages the use of safe bags made of bioplastic. So called “green bags” cost more, but do not cause such a big harm to the environment. Different advertising companies encourage people to use these bags. In New Zeeland cloth bags are promoted in some supermarkets and other shops. In the United States of America local government of some separate states implement different acts against the use of plastic bags. For example, on March 27, 2007 the use of plastic bags was banned in San Francisco. Hopefully, this initiative will be applied in some others states and cities of the country. Limitation on the use of plastic bags will be implemented in California, Oregon and some other cities. France is also going to join this initiative and plans to limit the use of plastic bags. It is necessary to realize that the problem of the use of plastic bags is of vital importance because their use creates serious danger to the environment and people themselves.
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