Plastic bags are a convenient way to carry our purchased goods when we go shopping. They are a part of our modern lives, and we don’t tend to think much about them.
Plastic bags should be banned. Plastic is non-bio-degradable and thus causes pollution; as it cannot be recycled, burning plastic diffuses harmful smoke. It is a widespread practice that allows chemicals from plastic to quickly enter the body as we breathe normally. Burning plastic bags release dioxin – one of the most toxic chemicals known to man in vast amounts into the air.
The majority of plastic bags are made up of polyethylene, a substance that’s derived from crude oil refining and natural gas processing. Oil and natural gas are non-renewable fossil fuel-based resources, and through their extraction and production, they emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change.
Plastic bags are usually lightweight, and as such, they can travel very long distances by either water or wind. The wind blows these plastic bags and trashes a whole area. These litters get caught up in between trees, fences, and floats in water bodies, thus moving to the world’s oceans. Plastic bags are often mistaken for food by animals, birds, and marine life. The consumed plastic congests the digestive tracts of these animals and can lead to health issues such as infections, painful intestinal blockage, starvation, or death by suffocation.
Scientists have found microplastics in most of the species of marine life. People are likely to consume only negligible amounts of microplastics from fish. Microplastics affect the chemicals that affect normal hormone function, while some retardants may interfere with brain development in children, and it’s also linked to breast cancer in women. Microplastics are found in sodas, in tap water, in seafood, and fruits and vegetables, it has contaminated our food chain. Scientists do not know how our metabolism and immunity will react to the increased concentration of plastic particles in our system. They suspect that it may add stress to the liver by introducing more pathogens into the body. Plastics in our digestive tract may affect the absorption of some essential trace elements (like iron), which we need for maintaining proper health.
Plastic waste that clogs water drainage channels and river tributaries of many Asian cities increases the exposure of residents to water-borne diseases, as it creates a toxic soup that remains stranded in one place for prolonged periods.
Petroleum-based plastic bags never degrade. Instead of the plastic degrading, it is broken down into small tiny pieces that are swept down and end up in the oceans, which are then consumed by wildlife. Since plastic bag recycling requires specialized equipment that can break down the plastic and mold it into a new product, most municipalities do not have the budget to include their recycling in their waste management program. So, plastic bag recycling facilities are few and far between, and transportation to one could be expensive.
Plastic cannot be eliminated from our lives entirely, but we should try to limit our carbon footprint for the generations to come!
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!