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Unless you have been living under the rock for many years, you must be aware that of the fact that many departmental stores and even supermarkets have now started to offer brown paper shopping bags instead of the plastic ones they gave to carry your groceries or shopping.

If all these steps have left you wondering why then the simple answer is that plastic is an environmental disaster!

Let’s read about some of the harmful effects of using plastic-

  1. Daily use ending in landfills

Almost all of us have been guilty of having used or still using a large amount of plastic bags on a daily basis. Most of these bags are collected while shopping. The best of these bags are sometimes reused a few times before they find their way into the bin. And from the dustbin, they make their way to the fast filling landfills!

  1. They are not biodegradable

The biggest problem with plastic bags is that they take about 1000 years to completely degenerate and in the process of deteriorating it emits poisonous gases and particles that are absorbed by all air water and soil, thereby entering the food chain. This entry into the food chain contaminates both our food and water.

  1. Effects on the marine life

Perhaps the worse effect of plastic bags happens when tonnes of these discarded bags are dumped into the seas and oceans. By dumping them in water bodies, we are making the marine life pay the price of our mistake of leading an unsustainable lifestyle. Plastic bags in oceans and seas pose a very severe health danger for all aquatic species. Turtles, for example, were particularly vulnerable to this threat as they confuse plastic bags with jellyfish and end up swallowing them, leading to clogging and finally a painful death. 

The harmful effects may be many, but there are some easy solutions too, like using bi-degradable products (paper or paper bags for example) and of course saying NO to plastic in general.

  • A solution to get out of this mess is sometimes offered in the form of paper bags. While it is true that paper is any day a better option than plastic, it too takes many to degrade entirely and also causes a lot of harm to environmental flora causing cutting of trees.
  • Given the circumstances, the use of paper bags is the best idea that all of us must embrace. Not only are they very sturdy and available in a variety of colourful and attractive designs, but they are also water resistant, making them reusable plenty of times.
  • Most departmental stores often charge a nominal amount for these bags, but given administrative fines, plastic bags will very soon become costly too. Also, since paper bags can be used for years, unlike plastic ones, financially too, investing in these bags is a prudent move.
  • However, no matter what the cost the fact that it will help get the earth rid of plastic, it will remain a small price to pay. 

TIP- When using paper bags the only thing you should keep in mind is to maintain hygiene by washing it regularly, especially if you choose to do grocery shopping with it. You surely do not want the lingering smell of raw fish and meat in all your vegetables and a trip to the hospital for food poisoning!  Also, to make sure that you remember taking them to the market store some extra plain tote bags in your car and at the back of your front door. 

Let’s pledge to do our bit for the environment by giving up on plastic bags and adopting paper bags ones!


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