It is a common practice that when we purchase something from a shop, the shopkeeper packs for us in a shopper’s bag. Right from food items to clothes to shoes, there is hardly any item that we do not use a plastic bag for the purpose of carrying things. However, before stuffing your home with different styles, colours and shapes of plastic bags, have you ever considered the dangers that are inherent by using them? If your answer is no, then, reading through this article is a ‘must’ for you. Go through the following lines and explore the disadvantages of plastic bags. After reading this, I am sure that you will prefer sticking to paper bags and cloth bags instead.
Plastic bags have been known to cause a lot of environmental damage. A single plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to decay completely. This makes the bags stay in the environment longer, in turn leading to great build-up on the natural landscape (much more than degradable materials like paper). In other words, the more plastic bags you use, the greater the chances of environmental damage.
Plastic bags not only have adverse effects on our natural habitats, but have also been found to be responsible for the death of many animals, mainly on account of the suffocation encountered on eating them. Not only animals, but even infants and young children have been reported to have lost their lives on account of eating plastic bags. Since plastic bags are thin and airtight, children often end up blocking their mouths and nostrils with them. In case they are not being monitored by an adult, this leads to suffocation, and in some cases, even death.
Plastic bags are extremely durable. In case you are thinking of this as an advantage, just bring to mind an image of the huge landfill that you visited on the city outskirts the other day. In a majority case, most of the garbage present there will comprise only of plastic bags. In other words, plastic bags have led to a great increase in the pollution levels. This air when inhaled, leads to a number of diseases, especially respiratory. Also, the meal eaten or heated in plastic bags or containers causes certain cancerous diseases, ulcers, asthma and obesity because certain chemicals of the plastic bags or containers mix with the meal upon heating. They not only harm our immune system but also put a negative effect on our brains.
Since plastic bags are not bio-degradable, the only way to get rid of them is to burn them up. Though lighting a match to them is easy, it has more than its fair share of disadvantages. The biggest of them is that of smoldering plastics, it can release toxic fumes into the environment, in turn taking the air pollution to much higher levels.
One of the main disadvantages of plastic bags is that they are not renewable. The reason behind this is that they are made of petrochemicals, a non-renewable source of energy. They can be recycled, but not as easily as paper bags. Plastic bags can last for as much as hundreds of years. In other words, long after you are no more, the plastic bag used by you will still be in existence.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)