Single-use plastic shopping bags are usually distributed (for free) to customers by stores when purchasing goods. It is a popular method that is practiced in many countries for being a strong, cheap, and hygienic way of transporting items. Lightweight bags are commonly made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic.
Problems associated with plastic bags include use of non-renewable resources (such as crude oil, gas and coal), disposal, and environmental impacts.
A car could drive about 11 metres on the amount of petroleum used to make a single plastic bag. In Australia alone 6 billion HDPE bags were used in 2002. Usage reduced to 5.6 billion in 2004, and 3.9 billion in 2007. Plastic bags can block drains, trap birds and kill livestock. The World Wide Fund for Nature has estimated that over 100,000 whales, seals, and turtles die every year as a result of eating or being trapped by plastic bags. In India, an estimated number of 20 cows die per day as a result of ingesting plastic bags and having their digestive systems clogged by the bags. It’s is also very common across Africa to have sewers and drain systems clogged by bags which cause severe cases of malaria due to the increased population of mosquitoes that live on the flooded sewers. The term white pollution has been coined to describe the local and global effects of discarded plastic bags upon the environment.
Governments all over the world have taken action to either ban the sale of lightweight bags, charge customers for lightweight bags or generate taxes from the stores who sell them. Major countries such as Rwanda, China, Taiwan and Macedonia have a total ban on the bag. In the United States only cities and counties have outlawed their use, however in September 2014, California became the first state to pass a law imposing a ban.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document