The detrimental affects of single-use plastic bags are environmentally and economically alarming.
The case against single-use bags is so compelling that, around the globe, countries and states such Sweden, Denmark, Germany, San Francisco, Rwanda, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Bangladesh, to name a few, have either passed legislation banning or charging for plastic bags.
As eWater News reported last year, in October 2015 England introduced a 5p (8c AUD) tax on plastic bags part of a government scheme to reduce litter, positively impact the environment and protect wildlife.
The 5p tax proceeds are donated to charities and ethical causes and, as The Guardian reported, "over the next 10 years the [British] government hopes this will raise about £730m". Six months after enforcing the tax, the results have superseded predictions. According to reports plastic bag usage in England has dropped by around 80% and remains static.
Australia currently uses between 4 billon to 5 billon plastic bags per year. At eWater Systems we find waste like this reckless and unnecessary, especially in light of reports that 30% of the world’s turtles and 90% of seabird species have now ingested plastic debris.
In Australia, states such as South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory have independently introduced strict measures. According to The Age, “the existing bans in states and territories [across Australia] are working; the number of bags used in Australia has fallen from about 6 billion a year 15 years ago”.
Unfortunately, Western Australia and the eastern seaboard states where most of Australia’s population lives, remain slow to change.
In the eyes of journalist and Fairfax editor Alex Lavelle, “There is no rational reason not to make the move, and there are many rational reasons to emulate a policy that benefits the economy, society and the environment by slashing waste, improving public health and cutting pollution.”
The team at eWater Systems couldn’t agree more.
Be the change. Ban the bag.