Plastic Bags: a Threat to the Environment

Lucia Andrades, Contributor

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Plastic shopping bags are convenient, but they are a major source of waste and pollution, resulting in a unique threat to the environment. They are so cheap to produce and easy to carry that approximately 500 billion of these bags are used per year worldwide.

“I think that the use of plastic bags here in the United States is becoming a major issue more than anywhere else,” sophomore Mia Preston said. “People are not concerned about all the problems caused by something as commonly used as a plastic bag.”

While many nations around the world have introduced legal measures to stop or slow their circulation, only two states in the country have made laws banning the use of the infamous disposable plastic bags: Hawaii and California.

“A big difference that I noticed when I came to this country is the waste of plastic bags,” freshman Geraldy Martin said. “In Guatemala, people would use their own cloth bags that they reuse over and over again.”

In most States, though, the attitude towards plastic bag reduction is careless. A couple of states, Florida and Arizona, have actually introduced laws banning local communities from introducing their own plastic bag taxes.

“I think that giving the concern of plastic pollution, our government should act more urgently to encourage more and better recycling of plastic containers, bags, et cetera,” senior Andrew VanKuren said.

Nationally, only about 15 percent of the bags are taken for recycling, while many of the rest of them end up in the oceans leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of marine animals.