On a rough estimate, New York uses 23 billion plastic bags annually and most of them end up in landfills, clog the waterways and become eyesores around the city. In order to eliminate the menace that is damaging the Environment, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has taken a timely decision to ban single-use plastic bags in the state.

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He has signed the legislation on Earth Day, and it would be effective from next March. He had constituted a task force in 2017 to develop a long-term solution to this problem and they studied all the pros and cons. Their recommendation was to ban it in totality and promote alternatives like paper bags. This will be in line with the decisions taken by California and Hawaii.

Forbes quotes the task force report that says discarded bags are scattered in the landscape and in waterways and are not a pleasant sight.

NY to ban plastic bags & charge traffic tax. [Image source/RT America YouTube video]
NY to ban plastic bags & charge traffic tax. [Image source/RT America YouTube video]

The report adds - “Single-use plastic bags are a detriment to the health of communities and the environment alike.”

Other issues related to plastic bags

The main advantage of imposing a ban on plastic bags is to get a cleaner environment with a reduced presence of plastic, the item that does not decompose or break down into products that the soil can absorb. The ban has another plus point because it would eliminate millions of barrels of oil necessary to make the plastic bags.

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According to estimates of the Environmental Protection Agency, the majority of the plastic that ends up in the oceans originates on land. Unless there is a concerted effort to arrest this trend, a time might come by 2050 when the weight of plastic in the oceans will be more than the weight of the fish.

Forbes goes on to add that past statistics reveal in 2014, an average American family used nearly 1,500 single-use plastic bags each year.

That could add up to 100 billion single-use plastic shopping bags every year. Therefore, New York has decided to team up with California and Hawaii and ban single-use plastic bags.

Plastic bags destroy the environment

Daily Mail UK reports about Governor Andrew Cuomo signing legislation that imposes a ban on single-use plastic grocery bags in New York. California did it in 2016 and Hawaii followed. Its counties have imposed their own restrictions and Hawaii wants to ban the use of plastic in eateries.

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Actions of this nature are necessary to save the environment because plastic is something that is non-biodegradable and continues to clutter the surroundings for ages. They damage the ecosystems and waterways.

Under the provisions of the ban, local governments would have the option of imposing a nominal charge on paper bags. A portion of this would go towards the state's Environmental Protection Fund and another portion to the local governments.

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This would meet the demands of advocates of environmental conservation who have been demanding a statewide fee for paper bags to wean people away from plastic bags and switch over to reusable bags.

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