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The plastic bag ban in New Jersey will impact the environment. Here are the opinions of experts.

The plastic bag ban in New Jersey will impact the environment. Here are the opinions of experts.

Single-use plastic bags

Plastic bags are as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. According to the International Plastic Bag Association, 5 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide. United National Environmental ProgrammeOnce these bags are no longer used for their intended purpose, they become an inexorable problem for planet Earth. Plastic bags can be found in storm drains, on beaches, and stuck to highway fences. The peaks of Mount EverestRemote or local Arctic CircleYou were spared from the trap of plastic bag pollution

This inescapable fact is what drove legislators to approve the ban on plastic bags that is perhaps the most severe in the country. Governor. Phil MurphyIn September 2020, the state will ban all single-use plastic bags, polystyrene containers for food and paper bags from state businesses. After a 18-month delay for retailers and consumers to prepare, the ban finally goes into effect May 4.

But with the Environmental Protection AgencyAccording to the U.S., there are 380 million plastic bags and wraps per year. Does banning single-use bags in grocery stores in the fourth smallest state make any difference? NJ Advance Media recently asked this question to environmental and health experts. Their responses might encourage you to embrace the new legislation as well as future measures like it.

A more comprehensive law

Daniela Shebitz, executive Director and associate professor at Kean Universities School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences Sciences, stated that she believes that this type of ban will have a profound affect in New Jersey. This is especially in light of the progress made elsewhere across the country with less aggressive legislation.

People will respond with, “Well, people still want to use plastic.” But Shebitz says there is evidence that bans like those in California have an impact.

California’s single-use carryout bag ban is in effect since November 2016 and has resulted in significant reductions in plastic use, according to a report.CalRecycle’s 2019 reportThe agency responsible for managing and enforcing California’s waste management laws. The report found that 86% of customers bought a paper or plastic bag in the six months since the bag ban was implemented. There was an 85% drop in the number plastic bags and 61% in the number paper bags that were provided to customers.

The New Jersey law goes beyond the Golden States ban. Unlike the 10 other states that have passed a single-use plastic bans, New Jersey’s bill is called the trifecta. It bans single-use carryout plastic bags as well as paper bags (at minimum at grocery stores) along with many styrofoam containers. Plastic straws in restaurants are prohibited by the law.

This is going to have a huge effect on the environment in so much ways that we could see but so many that we can’t even see anymore, stated Shebitz, a Ph.D. in ecosystem science.

The plastic, or lack thereof, will be the proof. According to the nonprofit Clean Communities Council, members of the newly formed Plastics Advisory Council will be able to measure the effectiveness of the legislation. Bag Up NJ campaign. This 16-member council, which is part of the state Department of Environmental Protection will monitor and evaluate the success of the plastic bag ban.

Need a quick fix? Not so fast.

Single-use plastic bags

Other pollutants are not addressed by the Garden States legislation, such as plastic bottles. Pictured here are plastic bottles in bags at Gaeta Recycling Co. Inc., Paterson. Patti Sapone | NJ Advance Media

Marianne Sullivan agreed that the plastic bag ban which went into effect in May was a good first step towards protecting our environment from the harmful effects of plastics pollution. However, William Paterson University’s professor of public and environmental health said there is still much to do. The Garden States legislation includes, for instance.A number of exemptions are availableIt does not address other pollutions, such as plastic bottles and cutlery.

It’s true that plastic is already a large part of our environment. Therefore, we will be living with it for a very long time, says Sullivan, a specialist in environmental health.

Only a small fraction of plastic waste worldwide is recycled. In fact, most plastic items that we use never completely disappear. Instead, they are broken down into smaller pieces known as microplastics. According to the EPA, a single plastic bag can take over a thousand year to degrade in the environment.

Some of these microplastics can be inhaled into the lungs by inhaling them through the air. We can also inhale them in our food or in our water. We can also eat them in seafood, Sullivan explained.

It’s been well known that microplastics have made their way into aquatic food chains worldwide as well as New Jersey. A2016 study by New York-New Jersey BaykeeperMicroplastics were found in estuary finfish and shellfish, as well as in some 166,000,000 pieces of plastic floating in New Jersey-New York waterways. Although the exact impact on human health from microplastics is not known, Sullivan believes that they are a new health concern.

Nicole Davi is an environmental science professor at William Paterson University. She is also the department chairperson. A 2019 study found that plastic pollution is so prevalent that the average person may ingest five grams of plastic each week. This is roughly the same as eating a credit-card.

Do you want plastic to eat? Davi said this because it’s what’s actually happening.

Davi stated that she cites the alarming statistic not to scare people, but because it emphasizes how important the plastic bag ban legislation is to our survival.

See Also

It may be inconvenient for some people. Davi stated that it is a small thing that we can do from the many things we need to do.

Davis optimism is evident, especially considering the sobering February report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeAccording to, climate change has already had irreversible effects on natural and human systems that are being pushed beyond their capacity to adapt.

The deciding factor? You.

Pankaj Lal is a Montclair State University professor in earth and environmental studies and founder director of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Analytics Center. He said that adapting to new situations is what we do. He says that we must not give up on the future.

It is getting late, but if you just say no, it won’t make any difference. Lal stated that if we don’t do anything, it is worse than doing something.

The plastic bag ban will not solve the problem of environmental pollution by itself, Lal said. However, Lal stated that concerted efforts by governments and ordinary people to address the problem will go a long ways in improving things.

I believe that not taking action is actually adding to the problem, rather than being part the solution. Lal said that while we don’t have the solution to all problems, it is possible to make incremental changes to create collective change.

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Jackie Roman can be reached at jroman@njadvancemedia.com. Are you still unsure about the bag ban? Ask them here.

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