Table of Contents
The world changes very quickly, and the main tendency of this changing world is that people try their best in order to live more comfortable; however they only care about the current moment. Meanwhile the technologies of comfort bring substantial harm to the future of our planet, of the earth, its resources, and therefore this makes a negative impact on the quality of life of future generations. The wish of people to live more comfortably is understood. There are more and more of us living on the planet and therefore there are more and more of us to consume goods, therefore, in order to have those goods we need to work harder and this hard work wears us out so badly, that we are not quite prepared for thinking about the future, especially the future, which we are unlikely to see, since it is beyond the limits of our lives. We want comfort now and here, at any cost. And one of the elements of modern comfort is plastic bags. Can anyone imagine our lives without using those little light things, which are able of helping us with so many of modern difficulties. Basically a plastic bag is a bag, made of thing plastic film. It is characteristics are flexibility, lightness, thinness. As defined by Yam (2009) these bags are "reduced or minimized packaging". The variety of bags is great: shopping bags, often offered by retail stores to their customers at no cost or very cheaply, waste bags, designed for comfortable garbage collecting and removal, some of the bags are made for the purposes of packing different goods and for protecting them from outer influences. The functions of plastic bags would take several pages only for being mentioned. However the harm they bring to the environment and even to us, their consumers, is outstanding as well. It is so serious, that it is much better to refuse using them than to put up with the harm caused by them to the nature and to us. Let us see, in which ways such harmless little things as plastic bags can be harmful.
A plastic bag as an investment into the world energetic crisis
Plastic bags begin bringing harm to the environment even prior to being produced. This may sound as a paradox, but it is a real truth. Here are the figures, provided by Rita Putatunda (2011): annually up to one hundred million barrels of oil are required for producing plastic bags all over the world. Not a small figure, frankly speaking.And oil is one of those resources, which are very quickly consumed by the human kind, while their renewal process is extremely slow. Basically, we can call this resource unrenewable. And at the same time, our modern style of life depends on this resource in so many ways. We need it for heating our dwellings, for producing electric energy, for our cars to run and our planes to fly, and for a number of other very important things. So we should not underestimate the importance of saving oil and using it as carefully as possible. A day may come, when it is not there for meeting some of our very basic needs.
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The Thrills, caused by Used Plastic Bags to the Environment
However, we should move forward. The bag is produced. Our, better to say, bags are produced. Just think about this figure, around one hundred billion plastic bags are being produced in the US alone. This figure alone is breathtaking. But let us remember, that there are many other countries, and adding such huge economies as Russia, Europe, India, Europe, Japan, and some others would make the figure almost unbelievable. And once produced, the bags start being consumed by people all over the world. It is important to keep in mind that many of them are toxic and influence the qualities of the products, packed in them. However, People would mostly use it once and then they are being thrown away. Only up to three per cent of the bags, thrown away end up being recycled. The cost of recycling is very high and therefore very few plants do this sort of recycling. As a result, in many parts of the world there are no such plants available at all. Many of the bags are simply being thrown away on the ground or into the water. Meanwhile, plastic takes hundred of years to be decomposed, and when it is, it remains in the form of plastic litter, which influences environment in a very bad way. The wind and other forces of nature decompose such into smaller fractions, and the smaller such fractions are the more harm they cause to the nature. Thousand of sea mammals die as victims of plastic bags. They swallow the bags, mistakenly believing that it is food. Meanwhile, their digestion system is unable to cope with plastic. In the final score the animal, which ate the bag, dies in horrible pain. But this does not mean that the bag will not harm the nature. The dead body of the animal is decomposed and the bag is released into the water again, ready to harm and kill other victims.
Bags, thrown on the ground, cause awful danger to birds and small animals. They may end up being wrapped into such bags, hanging on the branches of the trees, and die out of hunger or lack of fresh air. It is considered, that each plastic bag is capable of killing an average of one animal once every three months. Now multiply this number by the amount of plastic bags, thrown away annually in the whole world. It is indeed horrifying.
Plastic bags are often being destroyed by means of burning them. This is one of the worst ways of dealing with plastic. When burning, plastic produces an enormous amount of different highly toxic gases, which harm the atmosphere in a really bad way.
Thin plastic bags also cause outstanding danger for children. 25 children in the US each year die out of suffocation, caused with plastic bags. The majority of them are less than one year old.
All the reasons, named above, should be enough for each of us to think twice before using a plastic bag. We need to think ahead before using a plastic bag. It is essential to begin using bags of other, renewable types of materials in order to prevent our world from slow and ugly death. It is essential to remind our friends and acquaintances about horrible harm of plastic bags. Each one of people living on earth is responsible for the situation and needs to take respective measures.