Many people have heard that plastic garbage bags are bad for the environment. But even environmentalists are surprised at how bad it has become.
How bad are plastic bags for the environment?
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
In the Pacific Ocean, there is an area known as “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” which is a location where debris in the ocean has been collecting trash that has been dumped in the water. The word “patch” isn’t sufficient to describe the size of this area though… this monstrosity is now commonly referred to as a ‘floating island of debris.’ In fact, some people call this the largest landfill in the world.
At this point, we don’t know the exact size of this garbage patch, but it is estimated to have spread over hundreds of miles in the Pacific Ocean. Even if you aren’t near the Pacific ocean, the plastic products that you throw away could potentially contribute to this pollution.
Because of the weather patterns, much of the floating debris in the Western Hemisphere tends to collect in this area, and this part of the ocean has turned into a “plastic soup” because there are so many pieces of debris in the water. Plastic is a high concentration in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is why we should reduce our use of things such as plastic garbage bags, to keep it from getting worse.
How You Can Make a Difference
It might be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there is nothing that you can do about the pollution in the ocean, but the truth is that your choices do matter. There are many environmental problems and solutions in the world, and plastic bags are a great first step for young environmentalists.
We can stop the growth of this floating landfill by being wise with our choices, and saying NO to the use of plastic bags.
Instead of using disposable plastic items, it is better to choose reusable substitutes instead. For example, consider taking your own reusable shopping bags, instead of using the plastic bags that are provided at the grocery store. Another option is to help the environment by recycling your plastic bags, although there are many arguments to say that it is better to avoid using the plastic bags in the first place.
Some cities are banning plastic bags, but if your local area still allows plastic bags, then it is a good idea to share these ideas with your friends and family. Each person can make a difference in their own circle of influence, and you can start with the people that you know.
A Boy With A Solution
An 18 year old boy has an idea that could clean all this plastic out of the oceans, and he might do it.
Watch this inspiring TED talk by Boyan Slat. This is a clever idea, and Boyan proves you don’t have to be a grown-up to solve a major problem in the world.