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UK Government to Ditch Plastic Bags

UK Government to Ditch Plastic Bags

UK government to ban plastic bags, plastic straws, and cotton buds.

Plans have been laid out in the UK to prohibit distribution and sale of plastic straw, stirrers and cotton-buds, as well as using plastic bags. It is expected to be launched at some point between October 2019 and October 2020.

Plastic bag usage statistics in the UK show that in England alone, people use an estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds per year. Plastic carrier bags usage in the UK reaches 13 billion each year. Since such items take hundreds of years to break down, the government is to recognize their negative environmental impact and hence, to ditch them. It stated that there were more than 150 million tons of plastic in the planet’s oceans.

Why are Plastic Bags Bad for the Environment?

Plastic pollution afflicts land, waterways, and oceans. Each year, it is estimated that 1.1 to 8.8 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste enters the ocean from coastal communities. Marine animals and living organisms are harmed by either mechanical effects of entanglement in plastic objects or ingestion of plastic waste. Other bad facts about plastic bags include that exposure to the chemicals within plastics interfere with the marine animals' physiology and eventually harm them. Some recent studies suggested that the bodies of 90% of seabirds contain plastic debris, which is not a matter to be taken lightly.

Single-use polystyrene cups and those made from oxo-degradable plastics that disintegrate into tiny fragment are to be banned as well, along with targeting the most common plastic-beach litter. Continuation of plastic bags in the sea has raised both governmental and environmental awareness for that matter, which hopefully will put banning plastic bags debate to rest. Other debates around plastic bag bans around the world are taking place too.

“Our precious oceans and the wildlife within need urgent protection from the devastation throw-away plastic items can cause,” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said in a statement.

“I commend retailers, bars and restaurants that have already committed to removing plastic straws and stirrers,” Gove went on to add. “But we recognize we need to do more. Today we step-up our efforts to turn the tide on plastic pollution and ensure we leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

Several initiatives have been launched to lessen the negative effects of plastic bags on the environment; including banning micro-beads and adding a charge on single-use plastic bags so shoppers would use them less. Since April 2008, for example, Marks and Spence are giving their "bags for life" for free to their customers, as their normal plastic bags will have to be paid. Using jute and juco bags is a great natural alternative to the usage of plastic bags. One of the most important effects of plastic bags ban in the UK is their future extra-charges.



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