International plastic bag ban

By: Joshua Mendez

 

Plastic Bags are common in our modern day environment. We use plastic bags because they are inexpensive and convenient. According to Brynna Strand and Charlie Ann Kerr from the Earth Day Network, “Two million single-use plastic bags per minute are distributed at store checkout counters across the globe.” Plastic bags have become so popular today because they are lightweight, waterproof, and cheap. However, they take a toll on our environment and negatively affect human health.

The issue with plastic bags is that they incorporate  polyethylene, and if not disposed of properly, they can end up becoming pollution that we commonly see along roads and in water. According to Laura Beans from Eco Watch, “Plastic bags never biodegrade, but they do breakdown. As they do so, any toxic additives they contain—including flame retardants, antimicrobials and plasticizers—will be released into the environment.”

Several countries and cities around the globe took initiative to this issue and have begun to either ban or set laws restricting the use of plastic bags. Massachusetts alone has more local bans than any other state. According to The Sun Chronicle, “… some 80 cities and towns- representing 40 percent of the state’s population- have approved plastic bag bans.”

It would be a wise decision for North Attleboro to follow in their footsteps to either ban or set laws to restrict the usage of plastic bags. According to greentumble.com, there are many reasons plastic bags should be restricted or banned. Here are some of the most valid ones:

  1. Plastic bags not only pollute our water, but our land as well.
  2. Plastic bags are made from non-renewable resources and contribute to climate change.
  3. Plastic bags never break down.
  4. Plastic bags are harmful to wildlife and marine life.
  5. Plastic bags are harmful to human health.

Some towns around North have already taken action on banning or restricting plastic bags, which should encourage North to do the same.

Mansfield made new law restrictions on plastic bags which prohibits retail establishments from providing plastic bags to customers. As an alternative, customers have to use either recyclable paper bags or reusable checkout bags instead.

In addition to Mansfield, Bridgewater has made some new restrictions on plastic bags as well. The restriction on plastic bags set in Bridgewater only applies to larger stores and chains.

Finally, Hopkinton has attempted to take action on the restriction of plastic bags. The legislation on the restriction of plastic bags is still pending, but intends to ban plastic bags used at stores’ checkout counters. The regulation will go into effect January 1, 2019. The Board of Health will be enforcing authority figures to govern the regulations with which all retail and grocery store businesses have to comply. Businesses that don’t obey regulations will be fined accordingly.

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