Does Single-Use Plastic Really Harm the Environment?

Does Single-Use Plastic Really Harm the Environment?

Experts are claiming that there has yet to be solid proof that the use of reusable bags may actually save the environment.

“We don’t know if they’re better and that’s the problem,” said Mark Anthony Browne of the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Lately, discussions on the use of single-use plastic have been brought again to public attention, following the groundbreaking documentary of Australian journalist Craig Leeson, titled “A Plastic Ocean.” The said documentary depicted “how devastating plastic waste can be to our environment,” said a report.

“A Plastic Ocean” reported that half of the nearly 300 million tons of plastic produced annually is single-use plastics. Out of that, the Jakarta Post said, “eight million tons end up in our oceans every year.” To drive the point, the documentary used videos where animals such as dolphins and animal carcass were seen either having plastic stuck in its fin and died for having ingested plastic, respectively.

This has led to a worldwide campaign, sprouting in many countries, calling for the banning of single-use plastics.

Still, Browne countered this, saying that the issue is “whether the alternatives people are going for are going to be better.”

He also alleged that “for each of those scenarios we need to understand the likely emissions and impacts. We need scientists to go and look at that but scientists have been excluded from the conversation so it is impossible to find an answer. We need proper science so we know people are making the right choices.”

Meanwhile, well-meaning cities, companies, and fast food giants such as Starbucks and McDonald’s are still taking the lead in eventually banning single-use plastic, such as straws.

“These groups are responding to the public outcry demanding action against a product that, on one hand, seems very simple—but which is harming the world’s oceans, experts warn,” said the National Geographic.

Even the World Economic Forum has said that there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050, according to a report.

Environmentalists are also seeking to add another R to the famous slogan – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s Refuse.

The report said, “they want people to refuse plastics.”