Ban on plastic bags with global perspective.


Byline: S. Kamal Hayder Kazmi

During July 2019 some international economists quoted as saying that more than 90 states in the world have banned the use of plastic bags and another 36 regulate them with levies and fees. At least 25 countries with bans counting Panama - have exemptions for perishable foods or medicines. Bans are mainly widespread in Africa. They have also stated that this is partly because relatively low-waste collection and recycling rates make the problem of waste plastic more visible, partly because Africa exports very little plastic and lacks a strong industry lobby.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) revealed that up to 5 trillion plastic bags are consumed each year. Disposed of improperly, they can clog waterways, choke marine life and provide a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. When dumped in landfills, they can take centuries to decompose.

Statistics also showed that in US, the places that have banned plastic bags and straws so far include New York, where state lawmakers have approved a state-wide plastic bag ban that will go into effect in March 2020. During April 2019, the Business Insider revealed that in some states, people face jail term for using plastic bags. It is also calculated that shoppers use 500 billion single-use plastic bags worldwide yearly. These bags typically end up in landfills or the ocean.

More than 100,000 marine mammals get entangled in plastic bags and die yearly. On average, a plastic bag has only a 12-minute lifespan. Most bags wind up languishing in landfills, where they can remain for up to 1,000 years. In the US, 500 million straws are used daily. The UN statement published July 2018 stated, some 127 states had already implemented some type of policy regulating plastic bags, but not before they had wreaked havoc on the planet in a number of ways.

Furthermore, different sources also mentioned that during 2002 Bangladesh became the first country globally to ban thinner plastic bags after they were found to have choked the drainage system during devastating floods. During 2017, Kenya was lauded for imposing the world harshest plastic bag ban in the world.

Experts also revealed that during July 2019, Panama became the latest to ban single-use plastic bags. Plastic-bag waste reached such high levels in China that citizens coined the term white pollution. The country adopted a full ban in 2008. Last year, the city of Montreal had banned single-use plastic bags...

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