Magazine

  • Chandana Banerjee

The Plastic Bag Pandemonium And 4 Ways To Sort Through It

Whether we go to the vegetable market, the grocery store, the mall or the supermarket, everything that we buy is packed into #plastic bags of varying thickness. It seems convenient, toting our purchases back in these #plasticbags. But there is a serious price to pay – a price that sadly is easy to ignore till we see the figures or the damage that they are wrecking first hand.

Pic credit: The Stupid Design


Here's a taste of it:


According to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, every square mile of the ocean is littered with 46,000 pieces of #plastic. This debris is like a sponge for toxic chemicals and soaks up concentrated amounts of DDE and PCBs, which are poisonous for marine creatures.


As per the Worldwatch Institute, #plasticbags take more than 1,000 years to break down, so even when animals and birds die after ingesting these bags, all that plastic re-enters the environment.

Pic credit: Less Plastic


More than 267 species of birds and animals die a painful death due to entanglement of #plasticbags around their intestines or due to choking on plastic debris.


#Plastic bags are made out of petroleum, and the amount used to create just one little bag is enough to drive a car for 115 meters. And just 14 such plastic bags to drive a mile, according to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.


Research done by the Earth Policy Institute shows that a trillion #plastic bags are consumed every year across the world, which translates into two million plastic bags per minute.


Our plastic bag litter...


These facts and figures are just the tip of the iceberg, with plastic bag pollution seeping into many layers of our lives and planet.


With just a little bit of practice, we can all help reduce the usage of #plasticbags, and in turn, the negative impact too. Here are some simple ways:


1. Refuse a #plastic bag when you’re offered one. If you’ve shopped for just an item or two, then carry them in your hand rather than get them packed in a plastic bag.



2. Carry a few #clothbags. The ubiquitous jhola is part of every Indian household. Grab one of these when you step out of home. It might take a bit of practice to remember to do so every time you head out to the shops, so stuff a light cloth bag in your handbag and in your car, as a backup plan.


3. Reuse your old #plastic bags. When I started consciously trying to reduce my plastic bag usage, I reached for that stash of plastic bags accumulated from those visits to the vegetable markets and grocery stores. I asked vendors to put their wares in these instead of offering me fresh plastic bags.


4. Recycle those #plasticbags. If your city has a plastic recycling program, then send your plastic there to be recycled.


How have you reduced your usage of plastic bags?


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