Plastic is being used for the last 150 years. However, plastic has an adverse effect on our environment. Plastic is being labeled as an enemy of our precious environment with authorities around the globe, taking steps to ban its use. The agitations are understandable as plastic bags are not only contributing to plastic pollution but are consumed by many animals causing their death, resulting in clogging of drains, causing flooding, etc. to name a few.
The environmental advocates are asking for a complete ban on plastic. However, there is strong opposition to the ban on plastic bags. What these opposers do not understand is that the very manufacturing of plastic bag is contributing to plastic pollution and is making our planet unfit for life with the passage of every single day.
Above all, even after knowing all the repercussions, the opposers are not considering the manufacturing of plastic as an issue. They are so keen to enlist the benefits of the plastic bags that they are not taking into account the number of toxic chemicals being dumped into the air and water during the process of manufacturing. These people argue that plastic bags constitute below 0.5% of the total litter, but fail to notice that the major part of that litter is the chemical residue of the manufacturing process.
Also, if decomposed, the plastic bags take around 1000 years to vanish completely, and even during the decomposition process, they emit the toxins harmful to living beings.
However, below is a list of some more strong and deep reasons why there is so much opposition to a ban on plastic bags:
- Attraction towards cheap is a common psychological phenomenon: Plastic grocery bags hardly cost pennies to manufacture. Since the price of one plastic bag is around a cent, compared to four cents for a paper bag, many people are lured towards the former. However, what many fails to understand is the cost of treatment of the illness caused by plastic bags. Also, this difference in price alone contributes to quite an amount of money and leads to reduced profits that are largely affecting many of the stores.
- Not caring about the long-term losses, and looking for temporary convivence: The plastics are not only posing a health threat to humans but also impacting nature’s balance by affecting the wildlife and the marine life of the planet. It has been examined that around 10000 of marine animals die due to the plastic dump every year. Also, the air quality affected by the growing plastic pollution is resulting in the death of various birds. Not to mention the animals that are dying every year due to the plastic entanglement. All these things are disturbing nature’s balance, but since only a few people understand these long-term environmental losses, the opposition to plastic ban still continues.
- Lack of awareness on the deadly stats: The increasing size of landfills is the resultant of plastics. Plastic is not only a threat to the land but also to water. A floating landfill roughly twice the size of American city Texas has been formed in the Pacific Ocean, and it mainly constitutes of plastic. It is known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Using various alternatives will help maintain the balance of nature and will definitely be a step towards a better lifestyle. However, lack of awareness of such facts is also one of the prominent reasons why there is so much opposition to plastic ban.
- Corporates and Industrialists showing ignorance: The problem caused by plastic bags has been becoming a universal issue. The corporate companies in favor of recycling the plastic bags are not putting much of the efforts in their thoughts. Amongst all the plastic bags consumed, only 1% of those bags are being recycled. Rest of them is adding to the plastic pollution and landfills. While these companies are emphasizing upon the recycling, they themselves are not ready to start the recycling units. This is because the recycling of plastic bags costs a fortune, and the results are only a handful. Also, a substance that cannot be destroyed for many hundreds of years is precious to many industrialists, as it is helping them to make a huge amount of money.
- Government not putting efforts in educating the mass on alternatives: Where all the opposition to the ban on plastic bags is taking place, the government is also not taking any action about it. This is the scenario when the government should act actively and help people understand the importance of a ban on plastic bags and teach them on alternatives such as reusable bags. However, the government is neither taking any strong stand nor is taking any massive action. Their non-action in a way illustrates their support towards the corporate companies, which may be because these corporate companies pay taxes and other amounts helping the government to run.
- Fear about the impact on the job economy: Ban on plastic bags creates a kind of fear in the minds of people from low income group and business owners who are directly associated with the plastic industry. Plastic manufacturing plants help sustain thousands of manufacturing and recycling jobs in around hundreds of plants across America alone. People fear that a ban on them can endanger these jobs and increase the unemployment rate by a great percentage. It again boils down to government and corporates not doing enough to come up with new job opportunities and letting people know about the same.
Thus, a blueprint to transform "filth into wealth" is required. The need of the hour is to design sharp public policies specifically to address this issue and bring forward a plan of action to execute those policies. Better and cutting technology is also needed for recycling, along with better business models. Today the money made through the process of manufacturing the plastic bags is one of the main reasons for many of the industrialist to oppose the ban. The reforms can only be done if the welfare of people outruns personal greed.