Plastic bag bans are bad for the environment

Plastic bags supermarket trolley: Photo Newshub

It is funny how the whole world is banning plastic bags at the same time. This article is from?The Financial Post?in Canada, which is also going through the same debacle. I would have said ‘debate’, but there is no debate on the subject here. Plastic bags were simply banned unilaterally without any serious consultation.

As many of us are coming to realise, things are not as simple as they may appear. Here is what the Canadians are saying. quote:

Montreal celebrated the start of 2018 by banning single-use plastic bags, with grocers and retailers facing thousands of dollars in fines if they refuse to comply after an initial grace period. A plastic bag ban, enthusiastically endorsed by federal environment minister Catherine McKenna, is also scheduled to take effect in Victoria later this year, and politicians in other cities and even in Manitoba?s Conservative government are now considering bag bans as well.

The ill-conceived ban is a policy that cannot possibly pass a cost-benefit analysis, not least because politicians have no way of measuring the cost of the regulation ? that is, the amount of inconvenience that the ban forces consumers and businesses to suffer. Meanwhile, there is pretty strong evidence that the benefits of the regulation (supposedly a cleaner environment) are either zero or negative.

In the first place, one of the reasons plastic bags are so popular is because of all the ways they make the environment cleaner and less hazardous to humans. Dog walkers use plastic bags to clean the environment of pet waste. People use plastic bags to carry clothes and books and everything else from place to place in order to keep their belongings clean from the dirt on the ground. end quote.

Using a plastic bag to pick up dog poo.

Well, we have talked about this. Dog droppings, in spite of what the people in Queenstown say, are a health hazard. To pick them up in anything other than plastic is, well… hazardous. And for putting wet clothes, dirty shoes and other items that need to be kept separate from other things – well, only plastic does that job really well. quote:

Plastic grocery bags are also an excellent way to protect people from bacteria in the environment, because they are disposable. By contrast, reusable grocery bags can be ?a serious threat to public health,? according to Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist and co-author of a study on grocery bags. He noted that health risks of reusable bags came ?especially from coliform bacteria including E. coli, which were detected in half of the bags sampled.? end quote.

We could be looking at serious health risks from banning them, which I think we all know. That is the most worrying thing of all. quote:

Another study by professors at the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University examined the connection between San Francisco?s plastic bag ban and bacteria-related illnesses. They concluded that ?both deaths and ER visits spiked as soon as the ban went into effect. Relative to other counties, deaths in San Francisco increase by almost 50 per cent, and ER visits increase by a comparable amount. Subsequent bans by other cities in California appear to be associated with similar effects.? end quote.

San Francisco, of course, was one of the first places to go with the ban. Being very liberal, it has unilaterally decided that turtles are more important than humans.

I’m not saying turtles are not important. No one wants to kill off marine mammals unnecessarily but there is no need to ban plastic bags. An education programme to make sure that plastic ends up in landfills is all that is needed but the virtue signallers will never be satisfied with that. quote:

Far from causing environmental harm, the main use of plastic bags is to make the environment cleaner for humans, such as by keeping bacteria out of groceries. Nevertheless, bag ban advocates insist that the bags are indeed environmentally harmful, and must be outlawed to fight climate change. end quote.

Thing is, there is no point in going back to things the way they used to be, and pointing out that everyone survived before. We have all become accustomed to a much higher level of hygiene, thanks in part to plastic bags, and going back is going to be a health hazard for humans. quote:

But justifying bag bans on the grounds of saving the climate ?(does) not withstand critical scrutiny,? writes economist E. Frank Stephenson in a book chapter published earlier this month by the Mercatus Center, a university think tank. Stephenson notes that if people switch to reusable plastic bags, carbon emissions might well increase since reusable bags are thicker. end quote.

Again, we have been saying this. Why are we getting rid of useful, thinner plastic bags in favour of thicker ones that take much longer to break down? It makes no sense. quote.

Given these facts, Stephenson concludes that the bans ?appear to be victories of symbolism over sound policy? and that ?predatory politics may often be found lurking beneath the green veneer of plastic bag bans.? Indeed, there is no better way to describe the politics of those who ban, without good reason, products shoppers want to use. end quote.

It won’t change anything though. Here, we have had a ‘captain’s call’, to ban plastic bags without any sensible reason. All we can come back to, time and time again, is virtue signalling, and a prime minister who is determined to appease the U.N, regardless of the effect on the population of her country.

Remind me again why we are doing this? We are not saving the turtles. We are not saving anything. We are just increasing the risk of disease, without any good reason.