New York plastic bag ban proposal marks important first step in saving environment

New York proposed a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags, which would go into effect in the near future. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it is critical to remember banning plastic bags alone is not enough to save the planet (courtesy of Creative Commons).

New York State’s proposed ban on single-use plastic bags would go into effect in March of 2020, according to The New York Times. Considering the insurmountable negative effects plastic has caused in our country, the ban should be implemented around the country, if not the world. 

Although this law is a good step for New York and for our country’s environment altogether, there is still so much more that lawmakers must do to safeguard our planet and reverse the detrimental effects humans have created on this planet. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plastic ban will prohibit stores from providing single-use plastic bags for customers. Some exceptions to this ban include restaurant takeout bags, bags used for deli meat in grocery stores, newspaper bags and bags sold in bulk, according to The New York Times

Regardless of the miscellaneous plastic bags that will still circulate the state after the ban goes into place, the actual elimination of the other plastic bags will help immensely and will allow New York State residents to use single-use plastic bags for their intended purpose.

In addition to the useless bags floating around parking lots or accumulating in households to be used for various tasks, it is evident that they are incredibly harmful to the environment and marine life.

Plastic bags are not able to be recycled, so when they are thrown into the recycling bin and taken to a recycling center, they get stuck in recycling plants which largely slows down the process. 

A large amount of non-reusable and non-biodegradable plastic ends up in oceans and eventually in the digestive systems of oceanic animals. This reasoning, specifically the security of the wellbeing of sea turtles, is part of the reason why the plastic straw ban has become a trend since the summer of 2018. 

While the plastic straw ban might have been a meaningless trend in retrospect considering the small amount of plastic it makes up in the world, the idea of eliminating them is a good step for our deviation away from our reliance on single-use plastic. 

This New York State ban on plastic bags follows the same reasoning; it is just one state, but at this point in our alarming environmental climate and impact, any move away from pollution is worthwhile.

That being said, climate change is a prominent issue that the national government currently does not take seriously. While locally, our negative environmental impacts are being considered, other trivial concerns are on the mind at a national level. 

President Donald Trump declared that the Mexico-United States border is a national emergency rather than our dying planet. Additionally, Trump wrongly withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement which in this time of actual climate crisis, is just preposterous. 

While New York’s ban is monumental, a larger movement is necessary to save our nation from environmental turmoil. The U.S. must continue to increase their efforts to reverse, or at least halt, their negative effects on the environment. 

In 2020, we need a president who takes climate change and the negative environmental impact of the human population seriously, not as a joke. If someone does not take charge soon, there may no longer be a planet to live on.