Environmental Problems Created by Plastic Bags

838 Words4 Pages
A plastic shopping bag, the most known used product discovered by man. Data released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency shows that somewhere between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year (National Geographic News, 2006). As the number of usage increases, the rate of plastic pollution grows eventually to be an immeasurable environmental obstacle that is difficult to control. This essay will unfold the case of plastic bags to identify the outcomes and impacts that are caused, and justify clarifications to this dilemma. Plastic bags are seen to create many environmental challenges because of their physical and chemical properties. Due to its molecular structure and its inability to rapidly biodegrade, littered plastic bag breaks down into smaller pieces from exposure to natural elements. These microscopic particles can take up to 1000 years to break down (United Nations Environment Programme, 2005), which creates a long list of challenges. Firstly, plastic bags litter the landscape. After they serve their purpose, a large quantity of them go into disposal areas. Each year a high percentage of plastic bags are resulting in littering the environment. Once they become litter, plastic bags find their way into water tubes, waterways, beaches, parks, and streets. In a similar way, U.S National Academy of Sciences (2006) wrote in their fund report that the real reason that the world’s landfills weren’t overflowing with plastic bags was because most of it ended up in ocean-fills. In a like manner, Bags find their way into the sea via drains and sewage pipes (CNN.com/technology, 2007). Secondly, plastic bags pose fatal threats to wildlife. The United Nations Environment Programme (200... ... middle of paper ... ...ry 2011] - Roach, J. (2006) Are Plastic Grocery Bags Sacking the Environment? National Geographic News [online] Retrieved from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/09/0902_030902_plasticbags.html [Accessed 24 February 2011] - U.S National Academy of Sciences (2006) The Role of Science in Solving the Earth's Emerging Water Problems. Annual report: 2006. By Rijsberman, F. Retrieved from: http://www.nasonline.org/site/PageServer?pagename=water_rijsberman [Accessed 22 February 2011] - World Wildlife (2005) Annual report: 2005 [online] Retrieved from: http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/globalmarkets/forests/WWFBinaryitem7334.pdf [Accessed 23 February 2011] - Worldwatch Institute (2004) Good stuff? A behind-the-scenes guide to the thing we buy [online] Retrieved from: http://www.worldwatch.org/system/files?file=GS0000.pdf [Accessed 24 February 2011]
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