Plastic bags are one of the most dangerous substances to our environment. It seems silly that plastic bags could do so much harm. You never would have guessed, right? Well, believe it or not, these bags contribute to environmental issues in several ways.
For one, plastic bags litter the environment. Forests, rivers, lakes, and oceans are littered all over the world. Wind carries these bags everywhere. We are destroying our own planet and most people don’t even realize the harmful effects of these bags. They also overfill landfills, taking up room that can be used by other trash. Americans use over 380 billion plastic bags a year.
For two, these bags kill our wildlife. They kill not only marine animals, but also animals on land. Many species are already becoming endangered as it is. These bags are adding to the death toll of animals, and it could increase their chances of being endangered, or even extinct. About one million mammals and sea birds die per year due to ingesting plastic bags. They are mistaken as food. The animals die a slow and painful death, usually by choking. 100,000 marine mammals die per year by eating these plastic bags.
Lastly, these bags are made out of a substance that is called polyethylene. Polyethylene is a type of petroleum. Petroleum is a major source of our energy, such as heating, electricity, lighting, etc. About four to five trillion plastic bags are manufactured each year. We’re wasting all of this petroleum on plastic bags when it could be used for more important things, like automobile gas. The sad thing is, out of 100 trillion plastic bags, only 1% are recycled. It takes 1,000 years for plastic bags to break down, making them non-biodegradable. Burning these bags will not help either; it will only make things worse. When these bags are burned, it releases toxic fumes into the soil and the air.