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The Disadvantages and Advantages of Plastic Bags's Regulation

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¬Disadvantages and Advantages of Plastic Bag’s Regulations
Plastic bags, scientifically known as polyethene was first accidentally produced by a German scientist, Han von Pechhman as a waxy residue at the bottom of his test tube. Polyethene is made from crude oil and nowadays, it is made through a process called cracking. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), plastic bags are commonly used for food packaging and grocery carrier. Statistically, sixty millions of polyethene are produced worldwide every year; one million of plastic bags are used worldwide every minute; it takes 700 to 1000 years for a plastic bag to fully decompose and about 1 percent of the produced outcome is being recycled.
This essay will discuss the disadvantages and advantages of the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags in the National Capital District (NCD). What will be discussed are as follows: PNG is a developing nation; manufacturers and people living in NCD will be affected; plastic bags are durable and useful in the rain; there will be less threat to marine-life and sea birds; there will be less environmental damages to the composition of soil and the atmosphere; and it will reduce the level of increased pollution in NCD and PNG as one.
First of all, the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags in NCD is a disadvantage due to the fact that PNG is ranked in the third world country and that is to say that PNG is a developing nation. Comparing PNG to other countries like the United States, England and Australia, certain cities in these countries have put an outright ban on the use of plastic bags. Port Moresby is in a developing nation and in contrast, these countries are developed nations. Although, in early March, 2009, it was reported in the Post Courier newspaper that PNG has placed a ban in non-biodegradable plastic bags. It was stated that the importation, manufacturing, sale and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags will be banned as of 31st March, 2009. However, based on today’s observations, this policy that was passed into a law by the former minister for Environment and Conservation, Benny Allen, under the environmental Act 2000, has been ineffective since then. Because PNG is a developing nation, some laws that were passed are ineffective and therefore the three constitutions are not as effective as that of the developed nations. For instance, though there is a betel-nut ban, citizens in Port Moresby are still selling and chewing betel-nut in markets and streets of Port Moresby. Therefore, the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags will not work well.
Another disadvantage of the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags in NCD is that the manufacturers and people living here will be affected. Plastic vendors sell plastic bag value for the money for their customer. That is to say that they are cost effective and reusable at the same time. These plastic bags are affordable and can be used several times. However, [Online], “Parkop says onus is now with the plastic manufacturers to adhere the warnings and start looking for materials to use apart from plastics or face the consequences.” According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 8th Edition, states that onus is “the responsibility to do something: the onus is on employers to follow health and safety laws.” But again, [Online], “He warns manufacturers of plastic goods to use degradable or face the full force of the law.” So is the Governor asking the manufacturers to look for substitutes or to use degradable materials? Another question is, if the manufacturers use another material apart from plastics, would it be affordable for the people living in NCD, both employed and unemployed? On the other hand, the PNG Manufacturers Council Chief Executive Officer Chey Scovel says [Online] “Charging the manufacturer extra cost doesn’t happen anywhere in the world, and cost and responsibility must be put on consumers at the check point, if it means charging them an extra 5 toea.” Scovel also mentioned that producers of plastic bags locally will all soon reach 100 percent production of biodegradable plastic as admitted by the manufactures council which supports local policies on plastic bags. There seem to be a conflict on who is responsible for this and that after the Governor raised issue to regulate the use of plastic bags in NCD which seem to be a disadvantage because it will affect the manufacturer and the people living here. Moreover, plastic bags are durable and useful in the rain which makes the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags is a disadvantage. Plastic bags are made of crude oil which gives its long lasting strength and the ability to resist water. Take for instance, if one goes shopping for his/her stationary at Water Front Food World where they will pack that entire person’s goods in a plastic bag. That person does not have a bag and his/her is house located at Laws Road Post Courier, just a few distances from Water Front. When that person arrives at the exit, that person noticed that rain was falling down and he does not have an umbrella either. If this person is in a hurry to go home, he/she would not have to wait for the rain to stop, instead, that person can just tie the plastic and maybe ask for another plastic since it is free and just walk home in the rain. In Png Facts, 2014, Mr Parkop admits that plastic bags have been useful to all, however manufacturing and disposal of it should be addressed in which both statements are very true. Developed countries are using paper bags as a substitute for plastic, though it is not common in PNG, paper bags are less durable, mostly cannot be used and less productive during rainy seasons apart from being environmental friendly. For this reason, the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags in NCD is a disadvantage especially when PNG experiences only wet and dry seasons all year around. The first advantage of the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags in NCD is that there will be less threat to marine-life and sea birds. For example, people living along the coast like the people of Hanuabada in the Nation’s capital are literally living on a shore covered with plastic of all forms that has lost their colors and turned into dark objects floating on the shore to where the houses are built in the sea, and thus contaminating the sea making it look dark as charcoal and stinky as a pig’s sty. These plastic bags may affect the marine-life and the sea birds that live around that area, or most probably, they have already been affected. [Online], “Governor Parkop said that plastic bags clogs over drains and waterway and eventually goes down to the shore at the sea which affects marine-life.” In overseas [Online] “they entangle many birds and animals that are flying over it and swimming under it because they mistake the plastic bags as a jelly fish. As you can see, the animals that are dying due to plastic bags are the ones that hunt jelly fish or any other animal that is in the squid family.” Statistics show that [Online] “about 100,000 marine animals die from plastic bags every year,” and [Online] says that “1 million sea birds” die annually. Though both quotations are not observations in PNG, it clearly explains what the improper disposal of plastic bag would bring about and thus adding to the existing statistics. From observations, most area along the coast, for instance, Ela Beach is filled with all forms of plastics day in and day out. The Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags in NCD is an advantage because this means to reduce the threat it already has on marine-life and sea birds, Moving on, the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags in NCD is an advantage because there will be less environmental damages in the composition of soil and the atmosphere. Plastic bags are non-biodegradable materials and are highly durable. [Online] reads, “A single plastic bag can take up 1,000 years to decay completely. This makes the bags stay in the environment longer and in turn leading to great build up on the natural landscape (much more than degradable materials like paper). As they stay in the earth, they contaminate the soil releasing toxins while breaking down. These toxins then spoils the fresh water reserves following the emission of methane into the air which is harmful to the ozone layer, that when decreased, it results in global warming. For example, most plastic bags end up in landfills like Baruni Dump or 6 mile Dump. Accumulation of plastic bags in these landfills will degrade the soil and the surroundings by releasing the harmful materials which they are made of into the soil and of course it will take a longer period to decay. As it is in history, PNG as a whole is well known for its agricultural background and even nowadays, unemployed people living in the city make an income from their produce in the garden. For instance, if more and more plastic bags are disposed in places where these people plant, then most probably, the toxins will inhibit the growth of the crops or these crops produced and sold will contain toxins from plastic bags. This will now lead to medical problems for those who consumed the toxicities in the sold crops. This does not only affect the soil but also the fresh waters and the animals that live in it. On the other hand, the only way to get rid of non-biodegradable materials is through recycling and burning. [Online] “They can be recycled, but not as easily as paper bags.” In our case, plastic bags are normally burned after they cannot be used again. When this material burn, it releases methane that was previously in crude oil and it breaks down the protective layer of the atmosphere called the ozone layer allowing the ultraviolet rays to reach the earth. This ray is harmful to humans and it leads to warming up of the atmosphere at a faster rate. To help save earth, only by a fraction, the Governor’s plan to regulate the use plastic bags is an advantage Lastly, it is an advantage for the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags in NCD because it will reduce the level of increased pollution in NCD and PNG as one. In [Online] “Mr Parkop describes plastic bags as an eye sore on the streets of Port Moresby.” Now, rubbish is pollution. “Plastic bags are extremely durable. In case you are thinking of this as an advantage, just bring to mind an image of the huge landfill that you visited on the city outskirts, the other day. In most probability, majority of the rubbish present there will comprise of plastic bags only. In other words, plastic bags have led to a great increase in the pollution levels,” [Online].this can be seen at Baruni and 6 mile dumps. As Mr Parkop’s description, this is very true for many suburbs like Hohola, Erima, Gordons, Renbow, Gerehu and the list goes on. PNG will be hosting the Pacific Games next year specifically in NCD and for Port Moresby to be an eye sore as described by the Governor himself would portray a bad image on its people and of course, it would not be welcoming. There is a saying that goes, first impression counts. Unfortunately, this would not be the case if proper measures are not taken care of at this stage. In [Online], “He says, a monitoring mechanism will be used to curb the littering and use of plastic as 2014 unfolds.” It is now into the fourth month of the year and nothing has been done. Nevertheless, [Online], “The National Capital District Commission has allocated K200, 000 to pay for plastic bags and other plastic items considered rubbish.” This money will be used to pay people who collect plastic bags or any forms of plastic and bring it to the market location once it is set up. This buying of plastic products is a good initiative to continue the effort in maintaining the cleanliness of Port Moresby as stated in by the Governor in an online article following the betel-nut ban. Therefore, the Governor’s plan to regulate the use of plastic bags is an advantage because it will reduce pollution in the Nation’s capital. All in all, plastic bags have its own advantages and disadvantages in wide range of aspects from: agricultural; to environmental; to financial; and to economic status. A comprise manufacturers producing only biodegradable plastic bags would satisfy the above statuses. Moreover, the regulation of the use of plastic bags in Port Moresby by the NCD Governor, Powas Parkop has its disadvantages and advantages.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
PNG edge (21stMarch2014)
Environment about (21stMarch2014)
Reuse it< http://www.reuseit.com/facts-and-myths/facts-about-the-plastic-bag-pandemic.htm> (21stMarch2014)
Which http://whichcountrieshavebannedplasticbags.blogspot.com/ http://people.howstuffworks.com/how-many-cities-have-a-ban-on-plastic-bags.htm http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/disadvantages-of-plastic-bags-5207.html http://www.emtv.com.pg/news-app/item/governor-parkop-targets-pastic-bag-ban http://news.pngfacts.com/2014/01/parkop-considers-plastic-ban-in-port.html http://www.pngfacts.com/44/post/2014/01/parkop-considers-plastic-ban-in-port-moresby.html http://www.pngfacts.com/44/post/2014/01/parkop-considers-plastic-ban-in-port-moresby.html#ixzz2wtti4neq http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=116534 http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/Advantages_of_Plastic_Grocery_Bags http://allaboutplasticbags.weebly.com/economic-impact.html http://allaboutplasticbags.weebly.com/environmental-impact.html http://allaboutplasticbags.weebly.com/impact-on-ocean-life.html http://www.pngedge.com/articles/2014/01/23/manufacturers-not-responsible-waste
http://www.pngedge.com/articles/2014/01/14/plastic-ban-not-effectively-implemented…...

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