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Plastic Bag Ban: Boon or Bane?

Somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. (Let’s Really Talk Plastics, 2011) Millions of these end up in different bodies of water, increasing the already huge amount of water pollution present in rivers and oceans. The alarming amount of plastic garbage that could be seen everywhere- plastic bags caught in trees, stuck in sewers, floating in rivers or drifting aimlessly through the wind, have caused various environmental organizations and local and national government units to keep a close eye on the issue. At least 90 cities and towns in the Philippines have passed ordinances banning or regulating the use of plastic bags, with several more local government units (LGUs) poised to follow suit before the end of the year, according to EcoWaste Coalition. (Yap, 2013) Plastics may have a negative impact on our environment, but banning plastics is not the solution to a cleaner environment.

Plastic bags have been receiving such a bad press because of its negative impacts on the environment. One of the disadvantages of using plastics bags is that it is very difficult to recycle. It takes a long process to be able to recycle plastic into a new form, and even then, the quality will not be as good as new (Zaleski, 2008). It has also caused a lot of problems both in land and water. Plastic bags that are thrown away improperly causes clogged sewers, which lead to flash floods in the metro and other towns, while those thrown in bodies of water cause unsightly piles of garbage in rivers, seas and oceans and destroy the coral reefs where most sea creatures live. Moreover, these plastic bags could be ingested by sea creatures such as sea turtles and dolphins which would lead to poisoning and ultimately, death.

However, the public should also be informed that plastic bags are not all that bad. There are various benefits in using plastics in packing. For instance, using plastics for perishable food items such as meat and fish extends its shelf life. They are also more weather friendly compared to paper bags because it can withstand the rain. Plastic bags are also very reusable. A single plastic bag can be reused at least a few more times for carrying items and it could also be used as trash bin liners (Cagape, 2009). Plastic bags do not really contribute as much pollution to our environment as what the media would like us to believe. In fact, compared to paper bags, they are much more eco-friendly. This can be proven in the manufacturing process of plastic and paper bags. The production of plastic bags requires much less energy consumption and water than the production of paper bags. While almost 4000 liters of water are used for the production of a thousand paper bags, only about 200 liters are used for the production of the same amount of paper bags, and the amount of energy used and greenhouse gases emitted increase twice as much when manufacturing paper bags compared to plastic bags (Let’s Really Talk Plastics, 2011).

Plastic bags are not really the problem here; it is how people throw them away that cause all these problems that the world facing today. The lack of discipline in observing proper waste management is the real enemy. The different local government units, therefore, have to find a solution to this problem, and banning plastic bags is not one of them. A good alternative to the banning of plastic bags is by taxing bags purchased in establishments. That way, people would be forced to reuse their plastic bags a number of times before disposing it. Some countries and towns have already implemented it and they received a positive response.  By taxing plastic bags, the mindless consumption of these bags will be reduced, just like in Ireland, where the government introduced the PlasTax, wherein the public have to pay $0.15 dollars for every plastic bag they would use. When this regulation was implemented, the country saw a dramatic decline in the consumption of plastic bags where approximately a billion fewer bags were consumed annually, and the government was able to raise funds worth $9.6 million for environmental-friendly projects (Reuse It, 2013).

Plastic bags are more earth-friendly than most people think. It is reusable, and the manufacturing process does very little harm to the environment compared to other packaging options like paper bags. The key to a cleaner and greener environment is not the banning of these bags; instead, it is proper waste management and discipline.  It is the most effective solution; for people to be responsible with their garbage and observe proper waste separation and recycling actions, so that bags flying around in our natural environment and oceans can be avoided (Let’s Really Talk Plastics, 2011). The local government units should really think twice before deciding to eliminate plastic bags, because it will only trigger more problems to arise.



Responsive Essay

Plastic Bag Should Be Banned

According to “Plastic Bag Ban: Boon or Bane?” essay that written by Patricia Galang  on December 15, 2013 shows that banning plastics is not the solution to a cleaner environment because  of plastic have various benefits and more earth-friendly. For example, using plastics for perishable food items such as meat and fish extends its shelf life. It is reusable and the manufacturing process does very little harm to the environment compared to other packaging options like paper bags. The key to a cleaner and greener environment is not the banning of these bags; instead, it is proper waste management and discipline. Based on the statement of the writer, I disagree with her idea because of many the bad effect of plastic on human, plant, animal, and environmental.

            Many disadvantage of using plastic, before explain it I explain about plastic first. Plastic is a term of a polymeric material of oil which is a non-renewable resource. The majority of plastics have polemers of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, chlorine and oxygen or sulfur for the backbone. The backbone of the chain is the part that function as a linking of a big number of repeating units. Plastics are organic liquids which dissolve in big qualities into solid polymers. This effect the chain to be regardless of the disappearance by a liquid of oil. (PVC) or (V) or (DEHA) : Polyvinyl chloride used for wrap, some types of plastic compress cooking oil, peanut butter jars and bottle like, window cleaner bottles and detergent. (PVC) is famous to be connected with liver cancer. (DEHA) is related to the harmful effects on bone structure, spleen, body weight , liver and kidney. (ukessays, 2015) Based on this, first reason why  I disagree with the writer’s idea because of  the bad effect of plastic on human. Plastic contains chemicals that cause damage to the nervous system and immune system and some genetic diseases. If the plastic exposed to high temperature is produced from the melt poisonous substances called dioxins, causing this article some tumors, birth defects, genetic mutations, and cause gas. The manufacture of plastics resulting chemicals substances, such as oxide, ethylene, gasoline and Alaakslin destruction of the nervous system and immune system and certain types of cancers, kidney disease. (ukessays, 2015)

            The second reason because of the bad effect of plastic on plant. Bags and volumes of plastic if stabilized volumes and bags on the plants to prevent the arrival of sufficient light to also prevent them from breathing at night and hinder its growth, if you reach this material to the soil to prevent it from breathing and ventilation, may reach hundreds of years, because most microorganisms can not analysis of plastic materials, plastic bags that need to be 1000 years to decompose in the soil. because they contain chemical analysis difficult.

The third reason because of the bad effect of plastic on animals. Some sea mammals get caught in the bags and aren't able to come to the surface to breathe and drown. (Audet) Sometimes animals, birds, or fish ingest pieces of a plastic bag that block their digestive system and causes them to die. There are numerous ways that these bags pose a threat to animals. On BBC news by Kinver (2013), so-called microplastics may be able to transfer toxic pollutants and chemicals into the guts of lugworms, reducing the animals' functions.

The fourth reason because of the bad effect of plastic on environment. Throwing plastic bags could make the soil unfertile which is described as soil pollution. We need fertile soil to help plants grow and provide enough food for all of us. Animals also need soil because it makes plants grow and animals will eat those plants. This is a part of natural food chain. Plastic contains some chemicals that are difficult to Nhalilha and constitute a threat to the ocean environment and living organisms. Plastic factories produce a great amount of green house gases and carbon dioxide which lead to significant increase in global warming that can change many species habitats therefore their numbers will decrease. Another fact that most kind of plastic diffuse toxic pollutants to the atmosphere, besides burning plastic generate toxic fumes fuse with the air. In addition these toxics can leak to the soil and groundwater and cause contamination of soil and groundwater which makes it impossible to grow the plants. These harmful chemicals have the ability to conflict with hormones in the body which is a major reason of many disease and faultiest in cells functions.

In other side, some people agree if plastic should be managed, not banned. One reason that plastic film bags are widely seen as an environmental nuisance is that most are non-biodegradable. But if they were manufactured from a biodegradable material — such as the bioplastics that are now being produced in some European countries — the main reason for banning them would disappear. (Casanova, 2012) The answer to the problems associated with thin plastic bag use is not a ban, but better management. The 3Rs — reduce, reuse and recycle — of solid waste management (SWM) also apply to plastic bags. Managing plastic bags means knowing how to use and store them properly so that they can be reused many times, and knowing how they can be recycled when their useful life has come to an end. The government also create law that regulate the price of plastic. Every persons using plastic after buying in the market, they will have purchased the plastic. This is solution for reduce using  of plastic. That way, people would be forced to reuse their plastic bags. For eample, government of Indonesia have apply it in Indonesia.

To sum up, we have known that after all plastic bags are used, they will be bad wastes of the world.  We can do little work to avoid plastic as much as possible, plastic should be banned. So, I disagree with banning plastics is not the solution to a cleaner environment. Plastic have many bad effect or disadvantage on human, animals, plants, and environment.

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