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By       Message Linda Schreiber     Permalink
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Don't burn plastic bags! They are very toxic. When my neighbor burns her leaves, she burns them plastic bags and all. I wondered what chemicals were coming from burning the plastic bags, so I looked it up. I found that burning polyethylene emits fumes that include compounds such as methane, ethane, aldehydes, ketones and acrolein, plus additional compounds. I also found that burning Styrofoam containers emits styrene, benzene, benzaldehyde, formaldehyde, plus various poly-aromatic hydrocarbons.

Now breathing smoke from either one is bad. So all you campers who love to sit around a campfire and burn your plates and cups in it better think twice about breathing those fumes. And I am going to let my neighbor know I found out that burning plastic causes cancer. It has to start somewhere, right?

People all over the world are trying to figure out what to do with plastic bags. Some countries and municipalities are banning them. There are many very good reasons to question whether they should even be allowed to exist.

Plastic bags are a very large part of the toxic portions of our solid waste daily and there is no safe way to dispose of them. If you bury them, they will poison the soil for generations. If you burn them, you pollute the air with toxins. If they end up in the waterways and eventually the oceans they cause death by being swallowed which causes starvation.

More than one million sea birds and approximately 100,000 sea mammals die each year after ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic debris. Because plastic bags are so light weight, they are easily airborne and are found everywhere, littering the countryside with many potential dangers and choking up drains. They can hold pockets of water where mosquitoes breed. They can cause the soil underneath to become infertile. They are non-biodegradable and take hundreds of years to break down in the environment. Plastic bags are using up a slowly diminishing resource because they are made from oil.

Many countries are beginning to either ban them or control their use. For instance, in June of 2008, China banned free plastic bags after a survey conducted in Singapore found that the annual number of discarded plastic bags had reached 2.5 billion.

In Pakistan, the environmental protection agency is planning on banning the use of polythene bags. Bags are becoming a major landfill problem, a sewage treatment problem and health hazard from air pollution and respiratory problems cause by burning them.

In France, experts say that these disposable bags make up over 8000 tons of waste each year at a cost of more than $2 million. They are especially concerned about the health hazards of burning these bags and are moving toward replacing the plastic bags with safer materials not make from oil

In Macedonia, as of January 1, 2009, plastic bags have become history because they are fouling the countryside. The environmental ministry has banned any type of plastic bag in the retail and food sectors, as well as at markets.

In India the environmental minister said the government intends to reduce excessive use and improper disposal of the bags. They also are going to eliminate the public-health threat of carcinogenic emissions from burning plastic bags.

In Israel there is great cause for concern about burning plastic bags if PVC is present in the plastic. That is because studies have shown that dioxins may be released into the atmosphere when chlorinated plastics such as polyvinyl chloride are incinerated at high temperatures.So you see the pollution of smoke particles is polluting towns all over the world.

Everywhere people burn trash there is more and more smoke polluting our air. Our air is getting dirtier and dirtier and I am really concerned about it. We must start being more conscious of this problem and insist that our leaders and representatives get serious about it.

In America it is time to clean up our air too. We need to start by not using plastic bags. When I go to the store, I take my own canvas cloth bags with me. I believe we have power in numbers, so I get my canvas bags from environmental groups that I join. They in turn get one more member to add to their clout when petitioning congress. I also get bags when I go to earth fairs and energy fairs. My favorite one has a big beautiful blue earth on a black field.


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My credentials: BA in political science, minor in data processing and creative writing, Doctor of Metaphysics (Beattles style), Yoga teacher, mother, grandmother, married with 7 grown children, his and mine. Ageless. Creative Activities: Artist, (more...)

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