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Submission + - EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem

jones_supa writes: An EU citizen uses around 200 plastic bags per year. That's too much, says the EU. But, wasting plastic bags is not just a European problem. Countries around the world are struggling with the issue, and it especially affects growing economies such as Asia. Some Southeast Asian countries don't even have the proper infrastructure in place to dispose of the bags properly. The problems for the environment are many. Plastic bags usually take several hundred years until they decay thereby filling landfills, while animals often mistake the plastic for food and choke to death. Additionally they are a major cause of seaborne pollution, which is a serious hazard for marine life. This autumn, EU has started ambitious plans which suggest reducing usage by 80% by 2017. Some countries have already applied measures: England has added a 5p charge to previously free bags, and in Ireland the government has already imposed a tax of 22 euro cents ($0.29) per plastic bag. The EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potonik said: 'We're taking action to solve a very serious and highly visible environmental problem.'

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