Dear earthlings, by the time you finish reading this paragraph, almost 2 million plastic bags will be used worldwide. According to the official Earth Day website, nearly 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year across the globe. And as the world continues to sink deeper into the abyss of pollution, it is important to know the effects of plastic bags. This should, of course, be done before you pick up such handy polluters.
The downsides to plastic bags should be obvious. They are a danger to our oceans, air and even sneak their way into our ecosystems and overall biodiversity. Plastic pollution is one of the many problems that is only going to keep expanding exponentially.
According to the National Geographic website, plastic never fully decomposes. Many times plastic will end up in our waters and release toxins. Another dangerous aspect of plastic is how animals (usually marine) will mistake plastic for food.
According to the Journal Science, scientists found that around 8.8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean annually. Scientists also found that this will threaten more than 700 aquatic species, as if things were not already bad enough.
Okay, VSCO girls, it’s not just straws that are killing turtles. Through the eyes of sea turtles, plastic bags will be confused for jellyfish. These bags will obviously suffocate the poor turtle to death.
There are cases where plastic bags will kill other creatures. One case, in particular, was a sperm whale found dead near the ocean. It was later discovered that there were 13 pounds of plastic in its stomach.
Ideas have soared on how to solve this global issue. Such ideas include reusing plastic bags for trash, using different kinds of bags, including reusable ones, and even making art with plastic bags.
I have taken note of how plastic bags are used at every C-Store and dining facility. CWU has done well with different bins for recycling, compost, trash, aluminum and glass.
I don’t mean to get all political, but if it means getting a step closer to a cleaner earth, so be it. What if students were taxed a few cents for each plastic bag used? Ok ok, I know what you are thinking. Don’t students have enough to pay like tuition, books, fees, room and board? You aren’t wrong, but this issue is literally greater than the number of stars in our galaxy, bound to affect you, your children and your children’s children.. So, why not spare a few cents to help save our precious environment?
Another option would be paper bags with handles. Such bags have been proven to be better for the environment when compared to plastic bags. Paper is a whole other issue within itself because, obviously, trees die to make it. Also as students, we use notebooks and print papers for almost every class we take.
One thing I do is reuse plastic bags as trash bags. When I am at the C-Store and forget my reusable bag, I will put all my grocery items in my backpack. It is a bit of a hassle though, so I always try to bring my reusable bag. You should do the same.
Baby steps are all it takes to aid our situation. Reusing plastic could mean an additional fun activity for the family. Just like the saying “every penny counts,” the same thing goes for every plastic bag. What are you doing to aid the pesky plastic problem?