Why ban plastic bags ?

In this post we want to bring out the recent news about plastic bag bannings. The lasts ones come from the State of California and from France and we would like to explain the why of these decisions.

On September 30, after a long and important citizen mobilization, the State of California banned plastic bags in all its territory. Likewise, on October 10, after a long night of debates, French parliamentaries adopted a law against the commercialisation of single use plastic bags and tableware.

Those two examples are neither the firsts nor the only ones. Today, tens of cities, regions and countries are aware of the problems caused by plastic bags. As a result, they implemented different kind of legislations to reduce the important amount of waste they produce. Numerous Asian and African countries and cities have banned their use as for example Rwanda in 2008 or Bangladesh in 2002.

Indeed, the fight against plastic bags is the most representative one against the plastification of our planet.

And there are good reasons to it: every year, 500 billions (8 in Europe) of plastic bags are used in the world and a huge part of them ends contaminating our oceans and seas. As a result, their environmental impact is tragic.

Short life and big impact….

The first problem is their manufacturing. Indeed, to produce a plastic bag a huge amount of energy and toxic substances are necessary.

The second problem is what happens with them after their (short) use. Indeed, our plastic bags usually end in the ocean or in natural areas which they contaminate little by little. Every year they kill thousands of animals and have a tragic impact on biodiversity. For example, sea turtles eat plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfishes. After the ingestion, their organism is unable to assimilate them.

Beyond sea species, land animals are also victims of those wastes. Likewise, in the Mauritanian capital, Nuakchot, 70% of the cattle die from the consequences of ingestion of plastic. This situation has, as a result, a tragic impact on local population livelihood and on the quality of soils and waters.

Finally, it seems to us important to recall that recycling plastic bags is not the solution to the problem. In fact, in Europe, only 25% of plastic bags are recycled. Moreover, recycling this kind of low density plastic is quite complicated and it usually ends incinerated. As a result, the issue is not to find a solution to handle the huge amount of plastic bag waste but to find a way to stop using them.

European people everyday more aware…

In view of these observations, laws adopted to ban plastic bags are a ray of hope. Likewise, according to a recent Eurobarometer, 9 out of ten Europeans think that the loss of biodiversity is a serious problem and 4 out of ten declare they act in their personal life to protect it. Finally, 80% consider that fight against the loss of biodiversity is essential to the production of many goods like food, energy or medicines.

With these hopeful results in mind, in the next post we will offer you easy and practical tips to reduce your consumption of plastic bags in other to help you to participate in the “non-plastification” of the planet.

One thought on “Why ban plastic bags ?”

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