29 June 2009

Ban the plastic bag

Well done for the Welsh Assembly on starting the consultation process to get rid of the one-use plastic shopping bag. Jane Davidson, Welsh minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Housing has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce a charge on single use carrier bags. On launching the consultation, Jane Davison said “An estimated 480 million plastic bags are used in Wales each year. It takes between 500 and 1,000 years for these bags to degrade and this cannot continue. By reusing bags, not only will we reduce litter, but also help cut our global footprint.”

If these proposals are successful Wales will join Ireland and China in levying a charge on their use.

The United Nations Environmental Programme has joined the clammer for a worldwide ban on the use of thin film single use bags and said "there is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere". UNEP consider plastic bags to be second only to discarded fishing lines in causing marine wildlife entanglements.

The Carrier Bag Consortium has responded to the UNEP criticisms. Peter Woodall, head of communications at CBC, said: "Plastic bags are very useful containers and can be recycled. Government statistics show that 80 per cent of all households reuse plastic bags to ensure their waste is hygienically tied up and plastics reprocessing is a very good use of resources as it is endlessly recyclable."

If all the plastic bags were recycled it wouldn't be a problem, but there are examples everywhere of wildlife being harmed by the bags. In the oceans, many animals mistake floating plastic bags as a jellyfish and swallow them, while others become entangled in them. To see more of the images that we have available to illustrate this topic follow this link to a lightbox: http://www.ecoscene2.captureweb.co.uk/lbshow.php?lightboxid=1261168667590

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