Plastic bags are everywhere—at the supermarket, the pharmacist, the convenience store. Think about it. How many plastic bags were in your life today? And where do all those bags end up? Well, around 15 percent are recycled. Some go to landfills, while many others are used as makeshift trash bags in people’s homes, or to help pick up after their dogs. But the rest wind up blowing in the wind to . . . well . . . everywhere.
Plastic “tumbleweeds” roam the deserts of Dubai. They serve as makeshift nurseries for malaria-bearing mosquitoes in Kenya. The Chinese call them “white pollution.” In this week’s Local Global Mashup Show, we travel from Rwanda to Ireland to California with this question: Are plastic bags a necessary convenience? Or a persistent pollutant threatening our planet’s ecosystem?