Effects of plastic bag usage and their disposal practices on the environment case study of business operators around Makerere
Bakowa, Samalie Ruth
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In an effort to determine the effects of using plastic bags on the environment, a descriptive study was conducted using a questionnaire administered to a randomly selected sample of 96 respondents around Makerere University. Descriptive statistics, Chi Square tests and ANOVA were used to analyze the data. From the study findings, the individual’s income levels and education levels had a significant relationship with usage of plastic bags (p-value<0.05). From the study findings, 88% of the respondents were using plastic bags as their main shopping bags, majority (51%) were using plastic bags because they were cost effective/cheap, 21% said they liked plastic bags because they are convenient, and the rest (28%) said that they used the plastic bags because the alternatives are expensive and hard to find. Most of the respondents (51%) said they dispose off their plastic waste through waste collectors, 20% burn their plastic waste, 16% reported to be using community bins, 11% litter them anywhere, and the rest 2% were recycling. The choice of using a plastic bag depended on the level of income and education level of the individual. Majority of the respondents (54%) reported blockage of the drainage system as their biggest challenge of the plastic waste, (24%)reported that plastic waste can be a habitat for mosquitoes, 17% said plastic bags degrade the cultivatable land leading to soil infertility and the rest (5%) reported plastic waste as one of the causes of animal death. It was therefore concluded that high use of plastic bags was associated with high prices of the alternative environmentally friendly bags and lack of awareness among masses on the negative consequences of plastic waste on the environment. It is recommended that shopping nets or cotton bags should be brought when going out for shopping. The government or other environmental activists should endeavor to educate and create awareness of the negative effects of plastic bag usage.