Climate change : Guilty bags

This week, we were challenged by Worldpackers to talk about climate change. When I was thinking about what I should write in this blog, I thought about starting by defining what climate change is. But I quickly told myself that, as a trending subject that it is today, I do not really need to. Instead, I quickly wanted to talk about a climate change relative: Plastic bags.

Right from their making, plastic bags are made from a huge supply of petroleum, which means that they are a way of depleting the world’s resources while emitting gases which in turn contribute to global warming. And looking closely, those resources are wasted, since those plastic bags can’t be recycled, but instead thrown away in the landfills, waterways and oceans.

After being used, and thrown away, they still are very dangerous to the environment. Plastic bags littered in oceans kill marine animals due to suffocation and ingestion of plastic. Not only marine animals are at risk. Plastic contains chemicals that can easily migrate into the air we breathe, and cause serious health issues.

There is so much damage that plastic bags are silently causing to our climate and environment. But good news is, we can do something about it. There are examples of countries like Rwanda that has been able to become plastic bags-free since 2008, and use of better alternatives has been adopted, and it is working. On a individual level, however small one person thinks their efforts might count, it still does count. It is time we replace non-biodegradable bags by re-usable ones.

Whenever we are done using a plastic bag, and we think we are “throwing it away”, we actually are very wrong, because there is no such a place "away" for it. Wherever it lands, it will sooner or later cause harm.

Pictures shot in Ghana & Benin


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