“The plastic bag is an accepted part of Canada’s shopping culture, but it shouldn’t be. Every year we use over 9 billion plastic shopping bags in Canada. That’s 17,000 bags a minute.”
– Greener Footprints
Canadians use 9-15 billion plastic shopping bags every year
To get a feel for just how many bags that actually is, picture this: if we tied 9 billion bags together, they would circle the earth 55 times (Greener Footprints).
Every year it’s estimated between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used across the globe. Although they weren’t widely used until the 1980s, their impact has already been felt around the world.
A quick stroll through your neighbourhood can often reveal how pervasive plastic bags are when it comes to the problem of litter. Hanging from tree branches or tangled in hedges, plastic bags have become a depressing fixture in urban green spaces like parks, schoolyards, and sports fields. Such litter is not only unsightly; it can also contribute to major environmental issues.
Large buildups of pva water soluble film manufacturers discarded plastic bags can clog drainage systems and contribute to major floods. Such flooding caused widespread destruction in Bangladesh in 1988 and 1998. Manila has also been vulnerable to flooding as a result of plastic-bag clogged sewers. In 2009, more than 80% of the Philippines’ capital was submerged. Hundreds were killed and thousands more were left homeless when entire neighbourhoods were swept away.
Other aquatic chaos created by plastic bags has proven deadly to those who live in the water as well.
Approximately 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals are killed each year by plastic bags, which can strangle their victims or cause them to starve to death, according to Planet Ark, an international environmental group. A dead gray whale that washed ashore in Seattle in 2010 was found to have more than 20 plastic bags in its stomach.