Suffocating The World – The Disastrous Effects of Plastic Bags

By Scott Morefield

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

The 1980’s saw the gradual shift from paper to plastic shopping bags in grocery stores all across the developed world. Although plastic bags can be recycled and often are, most normally end up in a landfill somewhere (where they can take hundreds of years to decompose), or out to sea in the Texas-sized ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ the place where plastics and other non-biodegradable debris are brought by currents from all over the world. There the plastic eventually does degrade, leaching toxic chemicals and breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, yet still remaining a polymer, toxic to marine wildlife. Eventually the plastic degrades into pieces small enough to be eaten by neuston (water striders, beetles, and other organisms that live at or near the ocean surface), thus entering the food chain.

It’s a vicious cycle, really. As the beetles and water striders consume the plastic and are eaten by larger animals, which are eaten by larger animals, which are eaten by larger animals up to and including humans, the toxicity really does come back to haunt us in more ways than we would like to realize. Until society comes up with a deliberate, organized way to deal with the billions of tons of plastics we produce, the levels of pollution and toxicity will not only permanently harm our planet, but we who live on it as well.

Fortunately the public is waking up. Many cities and even countries have succeeded in reducing the use of disposable plastic shopping bags. Even China, not necessarily known for its environmental stewardship,banned thin plastic bags in 2008.

While many libertarian minded folks will struggle with the introduction of legislation affecting this routine area of our lives, others feel that governments alone are equipped to enact the kind of change that could turn the situation around. Unfortunately, the Globalists and other powers-that-be use crises such as this to seize more and more power and riches for themselves.

The answer isn’t more carbon taxes for Al Gore, but rather a massive public awakening to the environmentally destructive practices we all engage in, practices that are detrimental to the health of our planet and ourselves! Consider the recent, public-generated, massive shift away from BPA in plastics. If it is no longer profitable for businesses to operate one way, businesses will change the way they operate to be profitable. It’s ultimately up to us.

Everyone should be aware of the facts in this infograph, then share it with someone who isn’t aware. The world CAN change, one person at a time!

Suffocating The World by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at

Previous Articles by Scott

About the Author

Scott is a blogger, writer, and researcher whose primary focus is how to raise healthy kids despite a system and status quo that makes it as difficult as possible. He and his wife, Kim, live in the hills of east Tennessee with their four small children. He holds an MBA from East Tennessee State University. Scott has written over 20 articles for the natural health website In addition, Scott and Kim blog about parenting, marriage, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, and homesteading at Connect with them on Facebook at


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  • Ricky m

    Everyone should watch the documentary “Bag it” its a good one. There are patches not in just the Pacific but in the other oceans too. They need to ban all oil based plastics and start making hemp based plastics. Oh wait the plastics companies wouldn’t allow that to happen……gotta love it

  • davina

    this is really useful. your work is highly appriciatable!!!!!1

  • I live in the Andes in Peru and so many plastic bags are used here – especially small ones, the locals use them for everything. Apart from not accepting them, I also took a look on Google the other night and found a bunch of awesome ways to make things out of plastic bags. So I’m going to get donations of used bags from the community and start making useful things. In places like this where education would be a huge deal and with the poverty, impossible to tax bags… at least it’s good to look into reusing in every way we can <3