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Bag Ban Will Help End The Plague of Plastic

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The ban on plastic bags is crucial and paramount to the sustainability of our environment.

While the usage of these bags is convenient, they are systematically killing our planet. In a single year approximately 1 trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide and in order to manufacture them it takes approximately 4.3 billion gallons of crude oil each year. An estimated 3.5 million tons of plastic bags are thrown away every year and each of these bags, instead of biodegrading, photodegrade, meaning they break down becoming what we know as microplastics, which end up finding their way onto our beaches and our food chain. Eventually, these bags do break down, but not for 1000s of years.

We see only one percent of these bags being recycled meaning the rest end up in garbage heaps. Some 267 species are directly affected by this pollution and for our marine animals some 100,000 are killed annually.

The government body of New York State has effectively enacted into law the demise of the single-use plastic bag. The ban was a part of the $175 billion dollar budget presented at the Capital, with the eradication of the plastic bag beginning on March 1, 2020, making New York the third state to enforce such a ban and the second state to do it at the state level after California.

New York’s ban is a step in the right direction, but there are exceptions to what is being banned. The new law without question is saying “no thank you” to the single-use plastic bag, but the ban will not include a ban on plastic used to wrap meat or goods bought at the deli counter, bulk bags (i.e. trash bags), or restaurant take out bags.

To make up for the loss of plastic bags, we will begin to see more and more paper bags being used, as well as reusable bags. Within the confines of the new law a 5-cent fee on paper bags will be enacted at the county level, with proceeds going to the Environmental Protection Fund and towards helping customers purchase reusable bags.

Some people might feel that this ban is a nuisance to their lives. However, the time for this is now; not later or when it’s more convenient, but now, right now, in this very moment. The plague of plastic must come to an end. No longer can we deny scientific data or the clear evidence of global warming. It is up to us to make these changes and we must do all we can to make sure these changes stay. We have a duty to ourselves but most importantly we have a duty to the planet we live on and the generations that will live long after we are gone.

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