The production of these bags is very energy intensive. Globally, 8 to 10 percent of our current oil supply goes to a plastic bag manufacture . In the United States alone, statistics reach up to 12 million barrels of oil that are used each year to produce even more plastic bags — billion more, to give you the precise number . Energy Information Administration estimates.
Plastic Bags And Its Effect On The Environment
Petroleum-based plastic bags are composed of very resistant synthetic polymers that may take up to 1, years or never until they completely degrade in natural environments . What does occur in most instances is that when out in the environment, the plastic breaks up into tiny microscopic pieces that get deposited in soils where we grow food or contaminate waterways. These pieces can be so small that they are invisible to our eye. You can be sure of one thing, though.
Already in , researchers found that the mass of microscopic plastic fragments in the North Pacific Central Gyre was 6 times higher than of plankton. The subtropical gyres of the North Pacific Ocean are also documented to contain the highest concentrations of plastic. But this comes along with many unanswered questions. We do not know the full impact of microplastics exceeding the mass of plankton in the ocean. Scientists have recorded some species of zooplankton eating tiny plastic particles. Considering what important source of food plankton is for many other species, it is clear that plastic gets distributed across the marine ecosystem.
However, one thing we know, is that by introducing a pollutant that may never break down in the environment can have implications that will far exceed any of our predictions. Have you ever seen endangered sea turtles hatch? They are tinier than a palm of your hand and appear so fragile when struggling across the beach to make it to the sea.
Even human footprints left in the sand represent mountain-like obstacles in their path and waves washing up on the beach are another challenge, as they thrust them back on the dry land to try once again before finally being picked up by a return current and start swimming for their life. Since their birth, baby turtles have only one goal — to get to the sea and swim into deep waters where they will feed and if successful grow into adult turtles.
On their long journey, they will encounter many difficulties and only a small portion of them will survive. Sadly, one of their newly acquired enemies is created by us who should protect them instead. Plastic bags. Plastic bags floating in the ocean resemble jellyfish, one of the main sources of food for some species of sea turtles, especially the critically-endangered Leatherback turtles.
According to a study carried out in , up to 35 percent of turtle deaths were caused by plastic ingestion and the probability that sea turtles will consume even more plastic increases every year . Nearly 20 years ago, a dead pelican was found with its stomach filled with 17 plastic bags .
In , a crocodile in Australia died because of 25 plastic bags filling its stomach . A calf had to be put down because of indigestion caused by 8 plastic bags in its stomach. These examples could go on for a long time…. 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. The most heartbreaking part of this is that the affected animals are not aware they eat something that will make them feel miserable and will slowly kill them.
Animals can also easily become entangled in this plastic waste. There were numerous cases of birds caught in plastic bags, unable to fly and feed, eventually strangling themselves to death. Similar fate has met dolphins, seals, cats, dogs, deer and many other animals which got severely cut on their bodies due to plastic bag entanglement.
National Geographic made a video on how helpless it feels to be caught in a plastic bag. Have a look yourself to imagine the suffering of these animals. A last example of a true horror caused by plastic has been discovered just recently. A study of coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific has confirmed that plastic waste deposited on coral reefs promotes outbreaks of diseases that gradually destroy whole reef colonies .
So, plastic waste only speeds up the destruction of these most biodiverse ecosystems on earth. Microplastics were found in soft drinks like Coca Cola, in tap water, in seafood… It has contaminated our food chain, so it should not surprise us that it can be tracked in our body. The reason to worry is that 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 on the liver by introducing more pathogens into the body. Additionally, plastics in our digestive tract may affect absorption of some important trace elements like iron which we need for maintaining proper health . Plastic bags and plastic products overall contain substances that are harmful to our health.
The most common are inorganic dyes that are added to change the color of plastic bags.
Plastic Bags Should Be Banned | Band 7 IELTS Essay Sample
These dyes on their own can leach toxins, but they can also be contaminated with traces of heavy metals such as lead or cadmium, both of which affect kidney health and proper functioning of other organs. Plastic fragments in the ocean such as those from plastic bags can absorb pollutants like PCBs polychlorinated biphenyls and PAHs Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons easily.
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These are known to be hormone-disrupting chemicals. Plastic waste that clogs water drainage channels and river tributaries of many Asian cities increases exposure of residents to water-borne diseases, as it creates a toxic soup that remains stranded in one place for prolonged periods of time. As plastic bags tend to get caught in recycling machinery, most recycling facilities do not have the capacity to recycle plastic bags and therefore do not accept them. Whatever the condition might be plastic bags always retain their chemical properties.
Though they get fragmented into small pieces they always remain in their original chemical composition. It is because of this property that they always remain a part of our environment, contaminating our natural resources. Apart from the environment Plastic bags pose a threat to human health too. Tons of Carbon di oxide is produced as a byproduct of manufacturing plastic bags. This huge amount of CO2 mixed with air, reduces its quality and makes breathing harmful for humans as well as animals.
People living in the proximity of plastic bags production factories are known to have breathing disorders, like asthma etc. Plastic production also results in another harmful chemical, Dioxin. Dioxin is one of the most potent environmental pollutants that have a large effect on human health. Maximum human exposure to dioxin is through food and it causes reproductive problems along with damaging the immune system.
The production as well as indiscriminate use of plastic bags results in habitat loss of humans as well as animals. Miles of forests are destroyed to setup factories producing plastic bags, emanating hazardous chemical waste into natural reserves of water, soil and air. The destruction of forests leads to the habitat loss of animals, resulting into their venturing to human habitation causing conflicts.
Man on the other hand is losing his clean water reserves and polluting his air, resulting in a reduced average life span. Large areas of human settlements are being replaced by tons of plastic bags accumulated as a result of persistent littering.
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Humans are losing their natural habitat contaminating their resources owing to the indiscriminate use of plastic bags. All the three activities related to the plastic bags- production, use and disposal lead to the environmental pollution and depletion of natural resources.
At the production stage of plastic bags, toxic chemicals and gases are produced as the byproduct. All plastic bags are made up of harmful chemicals. Storing food in plastic bags for long periods may result in the ingestion of toxic chemicals and result in a weaker immunity and other health problems.
Children exposed to plastic usage for longer time are seen to have a weaker immune system and behavioral changes. Plastic bags accumulated in landfills emit toxic gases and chemicals while breaking down. Such gases and chemicals get washed down into water reserves or seep into the soil with rain contaminating them.
Plastic bags are light weight and easy to use, which is why they are widely used by humans for many activities like, handling supplies, packaging etc. But many environmental friendly materials can be used as an alternative to the plastic bags. It is a common practice to charge more for such immediate papers, and our company is not an exception. However, you can be sure that you are getting a fine work for the price you are paying. Online academic help is a solution many students use to save their time, their place, and their grades. We successfully deal with any challenges you may ask us to help with, and there are various services we provide to our students.
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