The Not So Fantastic Effect of Plastics

Plastics are not as fantastic as we think. Because of how abundant plastic bags are to us right now, people take them fore granted and don’t really care what effects they may bring to us. People see plastics as something that can be easily acquired, meaning, they can manage to waste plastics because they are very accessible. Plastic bags are used in supermarkets, department stores, and other stores that require bags for the things that their customers bought from them. Yes, plastics are very practical, but are not good for the environment. First, plastics disposed in the wrong way may lead to floods because they can clog the drainages. Second, when people burn plastics to get rid of them, they pollute the air around us, which can later on lead to harmful disease to humans. To lessen the use and waste of plastic bags, we should find alternatives to them. There are many alternatives that have the same capabilities as plastics do. In fact, many stores are promoting the use of tote bags and the like as alternatives to plastic bags.

How do you dispose of your garbage?

There are problems that serve as consequences to wastage and improper disposal. First, most people dispose of plastic bags even after just one use, they don’t think about how they can reuse them. Most of us don’t realize or simple don’t care of the fact that plastics take a really long time to decompose. Second, some dispose of plsatics in the wrong places such as the streets. These wrongly disposed plastics can clog drainages, which can lead to flooding. Also, the plastics on the streets make our environment look very dirty. Lastly, many people don’t segregate and separate plastics from biodegradable things. Recycling plastics would be so much easier if plastics are already separated from other trash. This is why the government is trying to promote segregation by starting a law that the garbage trucks will not accept garbage unless they are segregated. Republic Act No. 9003 created the National Solid Waste Management Commission, in which the government aims to establish segregation of solid wastes.

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Manila Bay polluted by different kinds of plastics

Plastics harm the environment

Without you knowing it, plastic bags bring a lot to harm to the environment. When plastic bags are disposed in the wrong places, animals see them as food and try to eat them. Once they have eaten them, these plastics go to their digestive system and start to poison them, which can lead to the death of animals. Another harm plastics could bring to the environment is pollution. When plastics are burned, they release gases into their air and poison the air. In one of her lectures in her Enviromental Science class at the Ateneo de Manila University, Ms. Racquel Unson explains that air pollution harms us more than we think especially if we live in places with many tall buildings. Warm air carrying pollutants usually rise but with tall buildings preventing them from rising, they remain near the ground. The polluted air becomes the air that we breathe and can lead us to diseases such as asthma and other lung diseases.

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“Say NO to plastic bags!”

Plastic alternatives, anyone?

Paper bags are one good alternative to plastic bags because they decompose faster than plastic and are almost as durable as plastic. Another good alternative would be shopping bags or tote bags because there are very durable. In fact, shopping bags are more durable than plastic and can even carry more weight. There are many more alternatives to plastic bags but these two are the most common and the most practical ones. When asked about his opinion on the best alternatives to plastic bags, Mr. Ian Navarette, Environmental Science teacher at the Ateneo de Manila University, he recommended paper bags and shopping bags. He adds that although shopping bags are more durable, paper bags are cheaper and are durable to enough to put things such as groceries in them.

Incentives and Laws that minimize plastic usage

Through incentives and city ordinances, people are encouraged to minimize their use of plastics. In some cities, the use of plastic bags has already been banned and in groceries, customers are encouraged to bring their own shopping bags. The Total Plastic Bag Ban Act of 2011, the act that prohibits the use and sale of any type of plastic bag, is now being implemented in 15 cities. In Mandaluyong, owners of business establishments who do not follow the plastic ban can be fined P500 to P5, 000 and can be imprisoned up to three months. However, you can still opt to use plastic bags in some cities but these cities like this still promote the use of an alternative by charging a fee for plastic bags if you still opt to do so. The more people use alternatives to plastic bags, the less plastic is wasted. These incentives help people realize what they can do to help save the environment.

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Republic Act No. 9003

To sum it all up, plastics bags are very practical and useful but they also bring more harm than good to us and to the environment. In your own little way, you can always help to lessen the wastage of plastics and find alternatives that we can use instead of plastics. We should help promote the use of plastic alternatives because they are the best solution we have to lessen the use and wastage of plastic bags. However, if there really is a need to use plastic bags, we should reuse them as many times as we. We should do our part in conserving the environment and we can start by making the most out of the plastics we use. Now we know how plastics can harm the environment, we should think twice before choosing to use a plastic bag.

-Rafi Lipardo

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