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Why So Many News Outlets Are Promoting Plastic Bags Again

Ally Nelson |

The campaign against plastic bags has been gaining ground in the United States and other areas of the world. But now, the struggle has come to a standstill for the time being. As environmental concerns are earning louder voices in the global agenda, the use of plastic products has been reconsidered in many countries. In spite of the fact that the COVID-19 epidemic has caused a health crisis all throughout the world, fearmongering conservative think tanks and the media partisans that support them are pressing forward with their plan. This new strategy suggests that disposable plastic bags, as opposed to reusable tote bags, should be promoted as "safe" and helpful tools in the fight against the further spread of the novel coronavirus. Why does something like this occur? What causes this to take place? In this article, we will cover the underlying reasons for this decision and provide insight into the legal procedures.

The Plastic Bags Bans’ Rollbacks and Delays

 Recently, we posted an article about the ban on plastic bags in the state of New York, which is a move that is enthusiastically supported by the state's politicians. However, as a result of certain media outlets' insistence that reusable shopping tote bags are worse than plastic bags when it comes to the survival of COVID-19 on surfaces and the spread of the virus, New York has decided to delay the enforcement of the ban on plastic bags until the month of June.

Experts from Greenpeace in the United States of America and from some independent publications have issued a warning that materials like these promote misinformation that is intended to oppose, defeat, and reject the present prohibitions on plastic bags. The fact that all of the media outlets that support bringing back plastic bags have links to some of the most prominent right-wing nonprofits and fossil fuel lobbyists makes the situation even worse and helps to create an atmosphere in which the general public is exposed to increased risks to their health.

In the United States, a small number of municipalities and states have, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, either delayed the implementation of plastic bag bans or completely turned them back. This is the situation in a number of states, including but not limited to Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In these places, plastic bags made a comeback with a fury, declared reusable tote bags to be public enemies, and came dangerously close to killing environmental projects that have been decades in the making to combat plastic pollution. Even though New York is delaying the implementation of the ban until June 1st, it does not appear that things will go smoothly.

The Excuse behind this New Witch Hunt against Reusable Tote Bags

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is responsible for the articles and efforts that have led to the resurgence of the plastic bag as the savior of the globe while simultaneously relegating reusable tote bags to an obscure area of the market (C.E.I.). This environmental advocacy organization played a significant role in swaying the decision of the Trump administration to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

The researchers at this institute have been focusing on the topic of the potential dangers that are posed by using reusable eco-friendly supermarket bags, as these bags have been shown to keep the virus alive on their surface for significantly longer periods of time than plastic bags do. The efforts to demonize reusable tote bags as breeding grounds for the COVID-19 and regard plastic bags as "safer" have garnered support from the media. Specifically, the media has backed the demonization of reusable tote bag.

There is a suggestion in a publication that was published by the Manhattan Institute. However, it does not offer any clear proof, that reusable shopping bags have the potential to transport the COVID-19 for up to nine days. When some of your most generous funders and supporters come from the fossil fuel business, it is easy to dismiss the facts, despite the fact that the scientific community strongly disagrees with this position.

According to the findings of the most recent research on the transmission of COVID-19 and the virus's ability to survive on surfaces, the virus can remain viable on plastic and steel for up to three days, while it can remain viable on copper or cardboard for up to 24 hours. However, research that was just released this month indicated that the novel coronavirus can remain dormant on fabric for up to two days. On another day, we will have a more in-depth conversation about these research.

At this point, it is essential for all of us to be aware of the fact that there have been no completed scientific studies to date that compare the resistance of the virus to the surface of reusable bags to that of plastic bags. From the beginning of the pandemic, there have been several debates over the contagiousness of the virus through skin contact. But this argument has also been disproved by experiments, which only opened up a broader discussion. On the other hand, there is evidence to suggest that the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Manhattan Institute are pleased to count as donors two of the most influential organizations in the fossil fuel industry, namely the Charles Koch Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers association.

The law does not require nonprofit organizations to disclose their sponsors; however, the New York Times followed the money and reported on the C.E.I gala the year before. The article focused on the lobby of the fossil fuel industry and the current attempts of such players to silence climate science.

Misinformation regarding the spreading and survival of the new coronavirus on reusable shopping bags is one of the most commonly utilized techniques to oppose plastic bag bans legislation these days, according to ocean campaigners and specialists working for Greenpeace in the United States of America.

The Reason behind this New Witch Hunt against Reusable Tote Bags

There is very little doubt in Greenpeace's mind that groups in the fossil fuel industry saw a great opportunity in this global health crisis and are using people's fears around the COVID-19 pandemic to push their pro-pollution agendas. This is because there is little doubt in Greenpeace's mind that these groups saw a great opportunity in this global health crisis.

Recent statements made by John Hocevar, an ocean campaigner for Greenpeace who is also a member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, remarked that

Even in the short term, plastic does not inherently make something clean and safe, and we should not confuse corporate public relations with factual medical research. A study from the National Institutes of Health, C.D.C., UCLA, and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine has indicated that the virus could be stable on plastic surfaces for as long as two to three days. The truth is that we don’t have all of the answers to this COVID-19 emergency yet, and for the industry to use this as an opportunity to increase profits for the fossil fuel and plastics sectors is dangerous and irresponsible.

It was also stated by Politico, Mother Jones, and the New York Times that the plastic industry and the players in the fossil fuel business interpreted the global health catastrophe as a sign that it was their time to act and continued to resist regulations that limit or prohibit the use of single-use plastics. What's worse is that the plastic lobby is no longer even trying to be covert; rather, it is staring us in the face.

In response to a request from the Plastics Industry Association, the U.S. In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of Health decided to give its stamp of approval to the notion that "single-use plastic products are the safest option when it comes to numerous uses."


A Mix of Ignorance, Fear, and Money

The misinformation campaign that is being waged in the United States to demonize reusable tote bags in favor of plastic ones is based on a combination of studies that contradict one another, research that is insufficient, and people's ignorance and fear. One writer, who is otherwise vociferous in identifying reusable tote bags as "deadly," asserts that there is no such thing as ocean pollution produced by plastic bags. Same claim is made despite the fact that this journalist has previously called reusable tote bags "deadly."

The same journalist who failed to provide scientific evidence relating to the persistence of the coronavirus on reusable tote bags on reusable tote bags also advised the public that there was nothing wrong with landfills anyhow.

This intense media campaign against reusable tote bags is being fueled by an article that references a study demonstrating that the virus can remain active on plastic bags for nine days. What a waste of time to verify your sources.

This pursuit for misinformation was supported by a number of other journalists and media sites. While many are citing old research that has nothing to do with the COVID-19 (as they date back to 2011 or 2018), some are inserting half-truths among inconsistent and incomplete scientific evidence to concoct believable stories. This is done while others are citing old research that has nothing to do with the COVID-19. For example, one of the articles that has received the most attention is one that compared the resistance of bacteria – NOT VIRUSES – on various surfaces. Whether it was a coincidence or not, the American Chemistry Council provided financial support for the project in 2011.

Fearmongering is an old strategy that involves ignoring the most recent studies in favor of quoting older ones, combining information because the general population has little to no medical or scientific background, and ignoring the fact that fearmongering is an old strategy. Regrettably, it is still thriving, even though people all over the world are now more aware of how fake news and pseudoscience operate.

The fact that we would have to wash and disinfect reusable tote bags after each usage in order to maintain their sterility during the pandemic is the most compelling reason against their use. To put it another way, if you are required to clean an item that can be reused, this indicates that the item is dangerous and contributes to the spread of the coronavirus. Do you want us to interpret this as meaning that disposable plastic clothing is going to be the next big thing?

As a stopgap measure to both hasten delivery times and reduce the risk of infection transmission between delivery personnel and their customers, the government of Great Britain has, up to this point, exempted customers of online supermarkets from paying the 5-penny tax for plastic bags. The restriction of plastics that are used only once is made more difficult by the actions of the Welsh government.

You will find more information regarding the influence of the media on the postponement or reversal of plastic bag bans here, along with the responses that the reporters obtained from the journalists, experts, and nonprofit organizations that were questioned.


Bottom Line

It is quite simple to get caught up in the web of theories, lobbying, and agendas that are being pushed from every direction. We strongly suggest that you conduct an additional validated study and come to your own inferences if you want a more clear understanding of why some segments of the media are pushing the new arrival of plastic bags. Concerning COVID-19, we still have a great deal of information to acquire. But on top of every step, we need to sanitize everything we use, including reusable shopping tote bags, wash our hands thoroughly, and disinfect any surfaces we touch.

We should also keep in mind that we have access to all we require to speak the truth to power when so-called "journalists" and "experts" assert that there is nothing to be concerned about in terms of ocean contamination or landfills. The earth is not for humans, but it can become sustainable with our struggle. Note that there is as much disinformation as environmental pollution. Therefore, our rightful fight is more demanding yet necessary.