Governments Should Ban Plastic Bags

Jennifer Clapp

Local governments are justly banning the use of plastic bags because of environmental concerns, argues Jennifer Clapp in the following viewpoint. Clapp provides several examples of problems caused by plastic bags throughout the world, including clogged sewer drains, coastal and air pollution, and danger to marine and land animals. Plastic bag use has also caused many areas to become exceedingly dirty and even disease-ridden, she says. As a result, local governments around the globe have banned or severely restricted plastic bag use in an attempt to improve their local environments. Clapp applauds their efforts and encourages other communities to pass plastic bag bans.

Clapp is chair of Centre for International Governance Innovation, a leading international relations and policy research center at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. She also coedits the journal Global Environmental Politics.

Jennifer Clapp, "The Time Has Come to Kill All the Plastic Bags," Globe and Mail (Toronto), February 11, 2008. Reproduced by permission of the author.

"Most of the local reasons given for reducing bag use have to do with their sheer volume and long-term persistence."

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