New York Bans Plastic Bags & Plastic Straws
Plastic products are littering the entire planet Earth. From the depth of the seas to the subsoil, plastic has invaded all layers of the world. From small necessity such as a comb to the keyboard and mobile phones, plastic had enriched our lives. However, plastic soon became a menace from the marvel in no time. The abundance of plastics in our environment started showing that the chemical composition of plastic was not biodegradable and compostable. Like wooden products, plastic products could not break down, crumble, and go back to becoming part of the soil. Thus, plastic pollution came into being.
Major Effects of Plastic Pollution in New York
Plastic pollution has not only worsened the natural beauty of the sceneries but has reached the depths of the sea disturbing the life species down there. The following are some of the most disturbing effects of plastic pollution on New York:
- In New York, residents create about 23 billion plastic bags waste on an annual basis. Plastic straws waste also pile up. A significant number of these plastic bags and plastics do not end up in landfills or recycling plants. A large number of plastic bags enter the environment, affecting wildlife and causing litter. This is why plastic bags pollution can be witnessed in the streets of New York and waterways such as lakes and seas.
- Plastic bags and plastic straws have bigger impacts on the New York communities and the environment as plastic is a persistent material. There will remain long-term ecological, ecotoxicological, and economic impacts of plastic pollution on the communities and the environment due to its persistent characteristic of the plastics.
- There are also physical impacts of plastic pollution on marine life such as ingestion, entanglement, and starvation.
- There will also be chemical impacts of the plastic, which includes a buildup of persistent organic pollutants such as DDT and PCBs.
There are also many other toxic and harmful impacts of plastic pollution threatening human health. Harmful chemicals of plastic wildlife and fish, which consequently affects the food chain. Thus, plastic pollution can also cause harm to human health. So, it is high time New York bans the plastic bags and plastic straws.
New York Banned the Single-Use Plastic Bags and Plastic Straws
By March 2020, single-use plastic products were banned in New York. The law had been enforced at the state level, which had prohibited the retail stores from selling the products in the single-use plastic products. Department of Environmental Conservation of New York had distributed more than 27,000 reusable plastic bags so that implementation of the ban on single-use plastic bags could be ramped up.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo had taken strong actions to reduce the usage of the plastics by placing the ban upon the single-use plastic bags. After the strict regulations and laws upon the ban of the single-use plastic bags and plastic straws, businesses and consumers will take up to the alternatives to the plastics. Sustainable bamboo straws are the perfect solution to the plastic straws waste problem. Life without plastics would be possible after the proper elimination of the plastics at local and national levels.
In the United States of America, New York is considered as the leader of the environmental issues. Recently, New York has established the framework for putting an end to the usage of plastic bags and plastic straws. These latest actions were taken by the governor of New York for ensuring that the air, land, and waters of New York would be preserved for future generations. Future generations will only thrive in a healthy environment if we preserve them now. DEC had made various efforts with other departments to further the plastic-free life and eliminate the usage of the single-use plastic bags:
Steps Taken by DEC With Other Departments
According to the New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, plastic bags and plastic straws were hanging in trees, floating in the air, rubbishing lakes, rivers, and waterways, and polluting the subsoil filling the landfills. This all has hurt the environment, according to him. Therefore, concrete steps were taken by the state government to reduce the menace of plastic waste.
- DEC Connected with Stakeholders and Industry Associations: DEC had also expanded its reach to the industry associations and stakeholders. From Retail Council to Food Industry Allowance and New York Association of Conveniences Stores, DEC has partnered with them for the distribution of the reusable bags.
- Nine Regional Offices at the BYOBagNY: DEC had also established the nine regional offices at the BYOBagNY, which had the educational material for reaching the public events. DEC is also actively involved in the cross-agency efforts with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Together, DEC and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance provide clear communication of law and entities required for the collection of state sales tax.
- The Imposition of the Bag Fees in New York City: The imposition of the fees on the New Yorkers, called bag fees, was another concrete effort taken for curbing the usage of the plastic bags. Research had suggested that the imposition of fees could change consumer behavior. Therefore, bag fees were imposed on the New Yorker. Legal analysis of the situation in New York regarding single-use plastic bags was considered by DEC with a team of other lawyers and the City Council. The bag fee law includes a section that asserts that any city with over 1 million residents could not impose bag fees. So, New York City was targeted by the law. So, counties and municipalities passed the bag fee laws and started to bring an effective change into the consumer choices.
Although, there were pushbacks from the businesses and retailers initially. The consumers and businesses had asserted that single-use plastic ban and bag fees would adversely affect the low-income New Yorkers. However, communities with low-income were supporting single-use plastic ban and bag fees because their community was rubbished and littered by plastic bags. So, it seems that New York City will get rid of single-use plastic bags and plastic straws in the near future completely.