A young boy asks a shopkeeper for a plastic bag for the items he had bought; not knowing that it would harm the earth for not carrying the items in his hands or pockets. As soon as he arrives at his doorstep, he throws away the "plastic bag" now regarding it as a useless piece of junk. The winds carry the bag into the river and into the sea. A face of a turtle appears and the bag disappears inside the mouth of a turtle who has mistaken it for a jellyfish, his primary food source. The turtle then suffocates and dies. The turtle's body slowly rots away freeing the bag of death to roam the ocean again. The bag is then eaten by a killer whale mistakes it for a jellyfish. The plastic enters the digestive system and stays there as it is indigestible. It soon starts blocking the entire digestive system. The gigantic whale is killed by a bag which is nearly one-thousandth of its size!
See! How harmful these plastic bags are to the marine life. Just one plastic bag can kill many animals.
Plastic bags also block drainage systems and cause the awfully dirty water to come out into the street making puddles that are breeding grounds for flies and mosquitoes. These disease carriers in return spread cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea, contaminating drinking water and further spreading the disease and even causing hepatitis B.
Four to five trillion plastic bags are produced each year but less than one percent is recycled! 100, 000 marine animals die annually by plastic bags when they mistake them for food.
Plastic bags choke landfills and can take 400-1,000 years to breakdown. The littering of plastic bags also stops rain water from penetrating into the soil which results in less rains and low water levels.
Plastic bags have been a problem in South Africa. They are known as the country’s ‘national flower’ , because they are found everywhere littered in the streets. According to the South African government the country uses eight billion plastic bags a year! A current study of blue petrel chicks in South Africa showed that 90% of the chicks had plastic in their stomachs. South African seabirds are amongst the worst affected in the world. Plastics remain in their stomachs, blocking the digestive system and perhaps cause starvation.
Plastic bags are dangerous to birds and marine animals! Plastic Bags litter and spoil the landscape! Plastic Bags block drainages! So why not just say “No” to plastic bags? We seem to be doomed to sink in a sea of polythene bags, unless we put our foot down and learn to say “No”! We then have to find alternatives to end these problems. If you have no other option than to accept plastic bags at the checkout, then make sure you use less plastic bags as possible. Reduce the amount of plastic bags you use!
Instead of throwing away plastic bags, reuse them at home. There are many ways like freezing food, packing school lunches or storage of clothing and other household items. Consider recycling your plastic shopping bags by returning them to the store. And last but not least, create public awareness. Tell others how harmful it is to use plastic bags.
If you have no guts to say ‘NO’ to plastic bags then remember that you can always….Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!!!
Name: Laraib Hussain
Subject: English Language
Criteria: Assignment 1 - (informative, analytical and/or argumentative)
Topic: Say “NO” to Plastic Bags!
What are the advantages of Plastic Bags? By Tyler Lacoma
Buzzle.com - Environmental Pollution: The Harmful Effects of Plastic Bags Web: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/environmental-pollution-the-harmful-effects-of-plastic-bags.html
Reusablebags.com – The real cost of free plastic bags ‘ Phase 3 Disposable and Litter costs’
Say No to Plastic Bags -The Shocking Facts about Polyethylene Bags, Web: http://environmental-activism.suite101.com/article.cfm/say_no_to_plastic_bags
BBC News| Africa| South Africa bans plastic bags - Friday, 9 May 2003
Causes of Plastic Pollution - Web: http://members.rediff.com/jogsn/BP4.htm
Here's what a star student thought of this essay
Quality of writing
Spelling and punctuation is largely faultless, with only a few minor inaccuracies as with "whale [then] mistakes it" which is not grammatically sound. However, the candidate is penalised for using exclamatory statements excessively, which impedes upon what is otherwise a finely polished essay. In paragraph eleven alone, we observe five instances of this, which then renders the device obselete - save exclamation marks for genuinely shocking statements. In order to develop what is a short conclusion, the candidate could consider explaining the terms "reduce, reuse and recyle" and perhaps offering examples of ways in which this can be achieved, for example, using charity shops instead of "evil" high street commercial giants. Or it is certainly my experience that during school I was bombarded with recycling propaganda often in the forms of jingles which could offer a dynamic ending for this response.
Level of analysis
The embedded narrative in paragraph five is an interesting addition to the piece; it adds a (perhaps unintentional) element of humour using the metaphor "bag of death". The story has a hyperbolic feel about it also which contributes to the general line of argument expressed that plastic bags are a terrible creation. The comparative statistic "whale is killed by a bag... one-thousandth of its size" is well-used, making the response read far more authentically. The candidate concludes strongly, with the suppositioning clause "if you have the guts to say 'NO'..." which leaves the reader with a somewhat 'niggling' conscience!
Response to question
This is an appropriate response to the set question which develops a detailed line of argument relating to the pros and cons of plastic bags. Numerous examples are used throughout in order to better substantiate the candidate's claims. The response opens with an impartial and effective introduction - I particularly like the image of "grandmothers [and] cloth bags" which is easily identifiable character to the majority of readers.