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Bag Waste Reduction Law in New York: Bring Your Own Bag New York — #BYOBagNY

Alexander Alexeenko - 02.03.20

Starting March 1, 2020, it is forbidden to sell disposable plastic bags to customers in New York stores. This is provided by state law for environmental protection to reduce waste. It’s reported by The Chronicle Express.

“Currently, plastic bags hang on the tree branches, they are carried by the wind through the streets, they fill city dumps, pollute our lakes, rivers and streams, which is harmful to the environment. The measures taken should help protect nature and solve environmental problems,” — said State Governor Andrew Cuomo.

What to know about plastic bag ban?

In some cities, including New York and the capital of Albany, customers will get the opportunity to buy paper bags for five cents. As state authorities hope, the ban will make New Yorkers more likely to go shopping with reusable bags that can be washed and used repeatedly. We are talking about fabric or special plastic bags made of dense material with durable handles that can withstand bulky and heavy loads up to 10 kg.


The UN welcomed a new law of New York state on the ban on disposable plastic bags in stores. This was announced by the UN official representative of general secretary, Stephane Dujarric. The laws came into force on March 1. Now, most state stores will not offer plastic bags to customers. What types of bags you can use? In addition, the The Bag Waste Reduction Law allows retailers to charge ¢ 5 for paper bags. At the same time, ¢ 2 will be sent to the local government, and ¢ 3 - to the environmental protection fund.

Dujarric noted that this is an important step in the fight against plastic pollution, which has a serious negative impact on our environment, especially the ocean. The law covers all stores that collect sales tax, including grocery, alcohol and retail outlets. At the same time, plastic bags can still be handed out for bulk products, raw meat, vegetables, fruits, medicines and takeout. Also plastic bags allow to use for garbage. City officials urge residents to use reusable bags.


New York will become the third state where the plastic bags usage is significantly limited. Similar bans have been in force since 2016 in California. In the state of Hawaii, restrictions are imposed at the level of its constituencies. Proponents of such a ban claim that millions of tons of plastic waste permeate the oceans every year. In some areas, real “garbage islands” are formed. They continue to grow due to environmental pollution. Last year, at the end of March, the scientific journal Scientific Reports published an international group of scientists’ research, which found that the garbage spot in the North Pacific is larger than previously thought.

Experts emphasized that the "garbage island" — Great Pacific garbage patch, consists almost entirely of plastic. Its total mass, presumably, ranges from 45 thousand tons to 129 thousand. The spot area is approximately 1.6 million square meters. km, it is more than twice larger than France. As scientists noted, it was previously assumed that the “garbage island” is several times smaller. What is this garbage patch like? It’s a large concentration of anthropogenic origin debris that drift on the surface of the water. These patch is formed due to the convergence at one point of the ocean currents and wind, which twist the garbage into a vortex and pull it to the center. Such large currents are present in six points of the oceans: the North Pacific (eastern and western currents), the South Pacific, North and South Atlantic, and Indian.

The largest garbage spot is the Great Pacific, also known as the Pacific Trash Vortex. It is located in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean, approximately between 135 ° –155 ° west longitude and 35 ° –42 ° north latitude. It consists of two parts: western, from Japan, and eastern, off the coast of California and Hawaii. The garbage spot was officially discovered in 1997, although its formation was predicted in 1988 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) after years of monitoring the amount of garbage discharged into the ocean.


Strong whirlpools in this part of the Pacific Ocean are formed when warm southern currents meet with cold arctic currents due to the rotation of the Earth. Thus, a plastic bottle thrown out on the coast of California, caught in the center of a whirlpool, caught by the southern current, reaches the coast of Mexico, where it can be overtaken by the northern equatorial current and transported across the entire ocean. Near the coast of Japan, the bottle can be intercepted by a powerful northern current and eventually ends up in the western part of the northern Pacific current.

Great Pacific garbage patch or Eastern Garbage Patch is not visible from the satellite and it does not represent a separate floating island of garbage. It consists of small particles of plastic called microplastic, which forms a muddy soup. Researchers have collected more than 750,000 pieces of microplastics per 1 square kilometer in this area. Soon, the seabed under the Big Garbage Spot can become a huge dump: scientists have found that about 70% of the garbage descends into the water.


In addition to the Great Pacific garbage spot, there are others: the Indian (in the central Indian Ocean, was opened in 2010) and the North Atlantic (in the Sargasso Sea), as well as other tropical oceanic streams collecting garbage.

Plastic products can break up into small particles, some animals take them for food. These wastes with the influence of salt water emit various substances harmful to the environment.

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