Say No To Plastic Bags : Part I

By First Posted: Nov 25, 2007 Sun 11:30 AM Updated: Dec 7, 2007 Fri 12:26 AM

Yesterday I went to this little store in Ludhiana and bought some stuff. I was shocked when the cashier charged me Rs. 5 for the plastic bag. Arent these things supposed to be free? When I asked, I was informed that it was a bring your own bag day yesterday. I felt really good that the store was making a tiny effort towards reducing the use of plastic. But at the same time, I was quite appalled to see a few customers actually fighting with the staff over this little issue.

So why should you say No to plastic bags? Here are a few reasons

They Create Litter

Go to any beach in any country and youll see a farm of plastic bags. In fact, most rivers and water bodies in India can be seen transporting plastic bags from one end to the other. Our parks and other open spaces also tell the same story. The state of affairs is so bad that % of all our litter is formed b plastic bags.

They Consume Natural Resources

Most kinds of plastic bags are made from polyethylene, which in turn is made from crude oil and natural gas. Either we are too dumb or just not foresighted enough to see how fast we are depleting our natural resources, which incidentally are non-renewable. Every time you use a plastic bag, just remember that you have depleted our already dwindling petroleum reservoir.

Plastic Bags Are Harmful For Our Fauna

Every year lakhs of animals dies due to being choked and strangled by plastic bags. Whales, seals, penguins, other marine animals, stray cattle, dogs etc are all being killed by the plastic bags that we use for 10 minutes before dumping away.

Plastic Is Non-Bio-Degradable

It is estimated that almost 1% of plastic bags are actually recycled. What happens to the rest 99%? They end up as litter or as landfill. Plastic bags that end up as landfill take around 1000 years to even begin to decompose. On the other hand, plastic bags that are flowing around as litter take 20-25 years to decompose. So considering the rate at which we consume plastic bags, can we ever hope to get rid of the litter?

Plastic Bags Can Be Dangerous For Children

Every year many pets and children die due to suffocation inside a plastic bag. Is it really worth it?

I hope we have been able to convince you to refuse plastic bags when you go to shop. In our next article in this series, we will the alternatives to the use of plastic bags. Till then, be safe and be good.

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