Plastic is a non-biodegradable substance and keeps the Environment cluttered for ages. This is especially true of plastic bags that can and do endanger marine lives. There have been instances of turtles getting entangled in them. Even large marine animals like whales have died after ingesting plastic. Post mortems of the carcasses have established this. Plastic can also clog drainage systems, streams, and rivers. The amount of plastic that enters the oceans is unimaginable. Hence, it's necessary to adjust ourselves to life minus plastic and bring back the days of paper bags and cardboard boxes.

In America, states like California and Hawaii have already banned plastic bags and New York is imposing it in spite of opposition from certain quarters.

The Guardian says New York will implement the ban with effect from March 1. Lovers of the environment have hailed the move. The volume of single-use plastic bags annually in New York is mind-boggling. Under the new law, stores will have to sell paper bags at a nominal cost or offer reusable bags that can withstand long-term use.

In New York City, some of the larger outlets have already withdrawn plastic bags from circulation. This move has caught many shoppers on the wrong foot.

New York wages a war against plastic bags

An official from the Environmental Advocates of New York said, “I’m excited, it’s going to be great.” He ensured that there are no plastic bags in the local supermarket in Albany.

He added, “It’s taken New York longer than you would expect, but it’s better late than never.” There are different points of view on the ban. Some store owners claim the ban will hurt their businesses. They also feel the action will add to the woes of low-income people through an unfair cost burden.

The Guardian estimates New York will require around 4 billion paper bags.

A major bag manufacturer says such a huge requirement works out to more than half of all production capacity in North America. In other words, there could be a shortage of paper bags. However, pro-ban campaigners counter this argument by saying England and Italy have banned them, and China wants to phase out non-degradable bags and other plastic items by the year-end.

State authorities have mentioned an indeterminate grace period. After expiry of that period, defaulters will be first warned and then be penalized by a $250 fine. Obviously, they have to evolve solutions within the grace period and work on alternatives. There has to be a will to change for the sake of a better society, some people think.

Doom’s day for plastic bags in New York

According to CNN, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last March banning single-use plastic bags in New York from March 1, 2020. Therefore, stores and businesses will impose a nominal charge on shoppers for paper bags. The purpose of the law is to help protect wildlife and the environment in the state. Governor Cuomo said, "Right this minute, plastic bags are hanging in trees, blowing down the streets, filling up our landfills and polluting our lakes, rivers, and streams — all hurting our environment." There are a few exceptions to the use of plastic bags. Those used for uncooked meat, prescription drugs, and dry cleaning can still be plastic. However, it is advisable for customers to bring their own reusable bags on shopping runs rather than face embarrassment.

Say ‘no’ to single-use plastic

Single-use plastic is a curse today, environmentalists agree. The world is moving at a fast pace and it has spawned a culture that is detrimental to the environment. The use of plastic has embraced every part of our lives and the items, discarded after a single use do not decompose but remain as eyesores in our surroundings. The decision of New York to impose a ban on such items is a step in the right direction, activists believe.