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These days, with the topic of plastic pollution finally coming out of the environmental closet, it is hard to imagine how detrimental only 60 years worth of plastic use has been to the planet. Yes, just 60 years ago, there was no such thing as a plastic bag. Water bottles and plastic straws weren’t introduced until the 1980s and the millions of plastic flip flops that end up in the ocean every year weren’t even being made until the 1990s.

Yet, in 60 years time, some 270,000 tons of plastic has found its way into the world’s oceans! Plastic bags, straws, cups, fishing line, nets, bottles, shoes, toys, and even tiny plastic microbeads are clogging up our waters.There is so much plastic currently floating in the world’s oceans that there are over 700 marine species that are being directly threatened with extinction by this plastic problem. The good news is, the governments of the world are finally beginning to take action. The United State’s recent ban on microbeads is a huge step in reducing that state’s plastic waste problem, with other nations finally jumping on board.

One year ago, Scotland was the UK’s biggest plastic bag offender. However, following the introduction of a mandatory five pence plastic bag charge this time last year, they have been leading the way in plastic conservation, preventing an estimated 650,000 plastic bags from reaching landfills. This translates to Scotland’s carbon footprint being reduced by a whopping 4,400 tons of plastic, as well as the 2,800 tons of carbon dioxide that would be emitted in the production of that many plastic bags.

With Wales leading the way in plastic bag reform, followed by Ireland and Scotland, England has now imposed its own bag fee, which will make the UK one of the leaders in plastic bag reform by next year. By reducing the amount of plastic in landfills, we are also reducing the amount of plastic that reaches our oceans, which is very good news, as the ocean is home to 80 percent of all life on the planet. We need out oceans to breathe, but right now, they need us to stop pumping them full of garbage, chemicals, and plastic!

Image source: Newton Grafitti/Flickr 

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40 comments on “One Statistic That Proves Why Bans on Plastic Bags are so Important”

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Leanne Costa
9 Months Ago

South Africa has been doing this for at least 10 years, it works as it makes people think twice before taking plastic bags and they bring their own. Come on Australia we can do this!

Joanne Thibault
9 Months Ago

The Republic of Congo ban on plastic bags has made an incredible and positive difference in that country. What great leadership!!

Linda Welka
9 Months Ago

Pay for them would help

Michelle Leclair
9 Months Ago

i dont understand,,,, why put bans on pastic bags and bottles... just stop making THE BLOODY THINGS

Christina Rowley
9 Months Ago

All we have to do is look at pictures of waste lands, waters, and povern countries. Who needs numbers when a pictures speaks a thousand words?

Karen Rojas
9 Months Ago

The guys at the supermarket by where I live have come to learn to not put my groceries in bags and help me put my groceries in my bags... ;0)

Selami Sehsuvaroglu
9 Months Ago

Supermarkets in France no longer furnish plastic bags - you have to bring your own shopping bags, or have enormously long arms...

Douglas Roy Bruce Bourne
9 Months Ago

We need to impose this ban in Kazakhstan

Patrick Madden
9 Months Ago

Or choose paper

Sunday Piper
9 Months Ago

Yet they are making absolutely everything out of plastic now


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