Thank you! I don’t need a plastic bag

TEHRAN – Plastic pollution is putting the whole world in hot water. In Iran, plastic bags account for the highest share of the total 4 million plastic waste generated every year, so it’s time to say no to plastic bags.

Plastic bags account for half a million tons of all plastic waste produced each year in the country. Every Iranian consumes an average of three plastic bags a day, 96% of which go straight to the trash.

According to the World Population Review 2021, Iran is ranked 17th in the production of plastic waste.

The report also claims that around 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide and that plastic pollution is a man-made global disaster.

Plastics are materials that are estimated to decompose for more than 450 years, during which time they turn into tiny particles called microplastics (plastic objects with a diameter of less than 5mm).

These materials are now found even on the highest point in the world, Mount Everest. Therefore, July 11 has been named “International Plastic Bag Free Day” to draw the world’s attention to the environmental damage of plastic consumption.

Plastics remain in the environment for hundreds of years without breaking down, and their chemicals gradually enter soil and water, contaminating them, killing animals and eventually entering the food chain.

Microplastics are the phenomenon of modern life today. The average lifespan of each plastic bag in Iran is only 12 minutes, while in the past two years, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world, the use of plastic items, such as gloves and disposable tableware, have also increased more than ever.

Microplastics are everywhere

Microplastics have spread to all parts of the world – to land, air and food, and even rain, and researchers have found these tiny particles in the tissues and organs of the human body, and even in the placentas of the embryos.

A 2018 study found that microplastics pass through the human gut and these tiny particles can enter the lungs and cause various diseases, including cancer.

Hundreds of studies also show that plastic bags and packaging are the deadliest plastic materials in the oceans, killing marine organisms such as whales, dolphins, turtles and seabirds around the world.

Discarded fishing nets, medical and plastic gloves are very deadly compared to other wastes that are dumped into the oceans and accidentally swallowed by animals.

According to researchers, ingesting plastics is the biggest cause of extinction for marine species and 80 different species of animals worldwide, which is a terrible way to die because it doesn’t happen quickly. and is probably not painless.

Plastics entering the oceans will triple in 20 years

A 2016 study showed that nearly 11 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the oceans, and in 2020 study results showed that the volume of plastics entering the oceans will triple by 2040, and exceed the number of fish by 2050.

In order to reduce the spread of microplastics, we need to reduce the consumption of plastics around the world and move towards the use of environmentally friendly alternatives. Having a cloth shopping bag, using recyclable water bottles, avoiding disposable spoons and forks are some of the ways to reduce the production of plastic waste.

Payam Joharchi, head of the waste management office at the DOE, announced in July 2020 that a bill to reduce the consumption of plastic bags, which is mentioned in 6 articles, has been prepared, focusing on incentive issues such as tax exemptions and aimed at reducing the production of plastic bags by 20% per year.

It is also taking steps towards the production of renewable bags, given the importance of the employment issue, it is expected to occur in six years.

Hossein Abiri Golpayegani, an environmental activist, also said that to reduce the consumption of plastic bags, it is necessary to implement deterrent policies such as increasing the price of plastic bags and reducing the availability of these. items to the public.

In recent years, many countries have banned the production and consumption of plastics, including Bangladesh in 2002, Bhutan in 2007, Hong Kong in 2007, as well as the United Kingdom, and instead reusable and recyclable bags have been sold.

Ireland, Taiwan, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium are also seeking to impose heavy taxes and stop the production of plastic bags, or have done so.

FB/MG

Bryce K. Locke