In Albania, the ban on disposable plastic bags for a month has made citizens and traders aware and avoid their use.
In markets, markets or neighborhood stores up to malls, former bags have been replaced with new alternatives.
The aim is to protect health and the environment.
In order to strengthen the awareness to the widest extent, Prime Minister Rama himself has announced the activation of fines from July 1, in order to use 100% paper bags instead of plastic ones.
But should we ban the use of plastic bags and why?
The simple answer is yes! Plastic bags, manufacturing bags and grocery bags are an unnecessary part of our lives. Before their invention in 1959, people did not need plastic bags to shop. Ironically, plastic bags were intended as a solution to deforestation for paper bags. The original idea of plastic bags was to reuse them and bring them back to stores over and over again, unlike paper bags.
Of course, over time, the concept of plastic bags saving the environment was demolished and we are aware of the environmental impacts of plastic pollution.
What are the harmful effects of plastic bags?
There are several levels to answering this question. But let’s start with the simplest – the abundance of plastic waste. This is especially true when it comes to disposable plastics. Over the years since disposable plastic items have been introduced, the amount of plastic produced has increased exponentially as more aspects of our lives fit into single-use plastic items. What was once just a small amount of plastic bags to help curb the use of paper bags has grown into what most people think of as a necessity during their shopping trip.
Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes before being thrown away and forgotten. It takes a plastic bag up to 1000 years to degrade, which is a way in which plastic does not actually decompose, but instead turns into microplastics that continue to pollute the environment. Now imagine the millions of bags being used around the world every minute being deposited in the landfill. This is an excessive amount of plastic waste.
To change our lifestyle when the law banning plastic bags was announced, it is twice as important to think about alternative choices. To avoid deteriorating our waste, we need to evaluate new options and choose the most environmentally friendly alternatives but also for our health.
Samel Kruja, environmental experts. This article joins the awareness campaign on avoiding the use of plastic bags.