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Plastic consumes world
Illegal dumping heaps, such as this one of many in Kimberley, consist mainly of plastic bags.Photo: Helena Barnard

By the time a baby born in 2020, turns 30 years old, the weight of plastic bags in the sea will have exceeded the weight of all the creatures in the ocean.

That will be a deadly weight since the largest garbage patch floating in the ocean currently, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, contains at least 79 000 tons of plastic. This is just one of many ever growning plastic islands worldwide, which are slowly but surely suffocating marine life, while the undegradable toxic micro-pieces of plastics end up on our plates – to be consumed as “fresh sea food”.

International Plastic Bag Day is being celebrated on Friday (03/07).

In Kimberley, plastic bags form the biggest part of illegal dumps all over the city. Therefore, let’s rethink plastic bags:

  • Plastic bags are used for an incredibly short time – usually less than 25 minutes – and are then disposed of.
  • Although throwing a bag onto the street or into a rubbish bin may take it out of your life, it doesn’t take it out of the environment. Plastic bags remain in the world from 100 to 500 years before finally degrading.
  • One million plastic bags are used around the world every minute.

Characteristics of single-use plastic bags:

  • By not being degradable, it directly harm many living organisms.
  • It is badly designed. It does not make sense to produce something that lasts hundreds of years when it is going to be used only for a few minutes.
  • It is ugly. Reusable bags are much cooler.
  • Plastic bags are cheap to produce, but very expensive to remove from the environment.
  • It embodies the message of a throw-away society that is trashing the planet.
  • It promotes unfairness. Future generations will suffer from the pollution caused by plastic bags.

The single use of plastic bags around the world can be completely replaced with more eco-friendly alternatives.

  • Stop using plastic shopping bags which you pay for and then throw away within 25 minutes.
  • Take your own bags to shops.
  • Make your own bags. Not only does this ensure that you reduce your use of plastic, but you can also make a unique bag. This is the perfect way to show off your style and your individuality.

Alternatives for other plastics:

  • Use only paper straws.
  • Carry a reusable coffee mug and water bottle.
  • Recycle all the plastic in the house and office.

– Sources: daysoftheyear.com; zerowaste.eu; timeanddate.com

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