The Effects Of Plastics On The Environment

1270 Words6 Pages
Plastic is a commodity that people use everyday which makes daily life more convenient. People take pills, use cell phones, and wear bike helmets in addition to a plethora of other activities, but tend to forget that one common element in all of them is the use of plastic. One of the main sources of plastic that has been polluting the environment over the last few decades are plastic bags. Plastic bags can be found in nearly every store to hold groceries, accessories, or toys. While plastic bags may be useful for customers, there is an overwhelming concern about their effect on the health and safety of people, marine life, and the environment. On January 1st, Suffolk County in Long Island, New York implemented a law that requires stores to…show more content…
A majority of plastic is made of monomers such as ethylene and propylene which are not biodegradable (Geyer et al. 1). Plastic bags are not biodegradable, indicating that upon their disposal they are either left in landfills or end up along shorelines of the ocean. Americans alone use nearly 100 billion plastic bags a year and contribute significantly to the amount of plastic pollution in the environment. If stores were to impose a 5-cent charge on plastic bags, then there would be a decrease in the amount of them in the environment. This decrease in plastic bags will help towards reducing the amount of pollution affecting the atmosphere over time. It has been reported that up to 80% of the pollution from landfills ends up in the ocean affecting nearly 267 different species (“Single-Use Plastic Bag Facts”). If action is not taken to decrease the amount of plastic bags in circulation, then there will be an even larger problem in the future for both humans and…show more content…
Some plastic bags contain bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, which has been correlated to the abnormal brain development linked with autism in children (Rahbar et al. 1). The increase in autism over the last couple of decades has occurred around the same time that plastic pollution began to rise. This is evidence to the fact that chemicals found in plastic have not only a negative effect on the health of humans, but in the pre-birth brain development of babies. There have also been reports of an increase in problems with fertility among women over the last few decades. According to Huo et al., “BPA exposure impairs the structure and functions of the [female] reproductive system [at] different times of [her] life cycle and may contribute to infertility. Both epidemiological and experimental evidences demonstrate that BPA affects reproduction-related gene expression and epigenetic modification that are closely associated with infertility” (1-2). Based on experiments conducted about BPA, the data indicate that one of the reasons for an increase in infertility is due to the presence of certain chemicals which includes those found in plastic bags. Charging 5-cents per plastic bag will not only help to protect the environment, but would likely promote an increase in fertility
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