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“Plastic-Bag Ban” Law Overview Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 19th, 2022

The topic of protecting the environment is becoming more and more popular for many researchers. With the implementation of various policies and laws, countries are starting to change their attitude towards consumer behavior. For example, a study “An Appraisal and Analysis of the Law of ‘Plastic-Bag Ban,’” written in 2011 by Zhu, analyzes the process of implementation of the Plastic-bag ban (PBB) in China. This particular article explores the community’s reaction to this law and the success of its implementation as well as proposes some possible ways to increase the positive effect of this ban. This paper offers a critique of the article “An Appraisal and Analysis of the Law of ‘Plastic-Bag Ban,’” focusing on the quality of the presented information and its interpretation.

Article Summary

In the study, Zhu (2011) concentrates on the analysis of the Plastic-bag ban and its effect on plastic bag use in China. The paper explains that the problem of white pollution is rather serious in China, highlighting that the use of plastic wrappers and bags greatly affects not only the exterior of the city but also the environment. Zhu (2011) argues that by burning and throwing away plastic bags, individuals may pollute water, air, and soil and damage their health as a result. In the next part, the author investigates whether the ban is complicit with the movement towards a sustainable environment. The author argues that the ban focuses on creating an environmentally-conscious society that will not purchase too many bags, instead choosing reusable or recyclable options. Zhu (2011) notes that such an approach complies with ideas of environmental sustainability and scientific development.

The following part of the article is concerned with the process of implementation of the ban and people’s understanding of it. The author defines the main concerns of the ban as well as its regulations and proposals. According to the text, the primary goals of the ban are to monitor manufacturing organizations that produce plastic bags and sellers that use plastic bags in their stores. Moreover, the ban prohibits the free distribution of plastic bags in stores. The article argues that the implementation of this ban is rather successful, as various supermarkets embraced the ban and started to utilize new conscious practices such as reusable non-plastic bags. However, the researcher argues that although the stores began to spread the information about the ban, the general public remains uninformed and has no knowledge on the topic of environmental sustainability. Moreover, the article presents the results of a survey, conducted by the author, which shows low awareness of the community on the issue. According to the research, more than half of survey participants believe that the effect of the ban is limited or that their contribution to white pollution is too insignificant to change their attitude (Zhu, 2011).

Two final parts of the study show that the implementation of the ban is insufficient and needs improvement. The author presents multiple ideas to solve this issue such as increasing publicity and awareness of the ban, changing the legal system, strengthening the supervision of manufacturers and sellers, raising the price of shopping plastic bags, and developing new degradable materials for bags. The author concludes that the ban can become more efficient and influence more people with these changes.

Article Critique

The study has some weak and strong points. The first good side of the article is its thoroughness in defining the goals of the Plastic-bag ban. The author devotes a significant part of the text to explore the main concepts of the ban and its connection to the trends in global environmental sustainability. Thus, the motivation behind implementing this ban becomes clear to the readers. Moreover, the study is focused on a topic that is recent and highly relevant to various scientists. The information, offered in the article, can be used in further research. However, while one can define these strong points in this paper, some disadvantages are also present.

The paper’s flaws are mostly connected to the paper’s structure, data collection method, and presented information. First of all, the flow of the paper is rather inconsistent, which may discourage some researchers from using it in their work. Points made at the beginning of some chapters are not expanded on or followed by viable evidence. For example, the third part of the paper focuses on the success of the ban. However, the following paragraphs switch to the topic of the ban’s ineffectiveness. Such a structure can easily confuse a reader and create a misunderstanding. Furthermore, the reason for implementing a survey in the study is unclear. The details of the questionnaires discussed in the paper are not shown in the text, while the information from these surveys is presented in a vague form. Furthermore, the number of participants for this questionnaire is rather small, and the group’s demographics are very limited. According to the author, only 163 people from one area and school participated in the study. This group of individuals is not diverse enough to present information on the topic that concerns the whole country. Perhaps, disclosing that the information provided in the text can represent only a small area of China would make the article seem sound (Creswell, 2014). Thus, the results of this survey cannot be considered reliable and represent the nation’s perspective of the issues connected to the Plastic-bag ban.

Another weak point of the article lies in the lack of supporting evidence. The author makes many points without presenting any references in the text. The history of the ban’s implementation and discussed policies are not backed by any official papers or statements, which undermines the paper’s credibility. Furthermore, the discussion of the ban’s effects on manufacturers and retailers is not followed by any substantial evidence. The author only claims that “the project team has visited several supermarkets including Makro, Jingkelong, Century Mart, Wumei” (Zhu, 2011, p. 2518). Although the researcher’s observations may be true, there is no way for a reader to confirm the soundness of the conclusions made in the paper. Thus, most of the facts discussed in the paper should be researched further to establish their fidelity.

Comment

The article “An Appraisal and Analysis of the Law of ‘Plastic-Bag Ban’” presents an interesting perspective on the issue of white pollution and the use of plastic bags in China. However, the points made in the text are not supported by any substantial evidence, making this paper more opinionated and subjective than science-based. Information presented in the study can be used for comparison with other articles on the same topic to compare and contrast the differences not only in data but in methods used for conducting research. For example, Zen, Ahamad, and Omar (2013) explore a similar topic, presenting their findings on a campaign against plastic bags in Malaysia. Moreover, Romer and Tamminen (2014) choose a smaller area of research, as they investigate the use of bags in New York and present a plan for changing carryout bags for citizens. All in all, the discussed article can be improved for further use in research. However, in its present state the article’s disadvantages overweight its strong points.

References

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.

Romer, J. R., & Tamminen, L. M. (2014). Plastic bag reduction ordinances: New York City’s proposed charge on all carryout bags as a model for US cities. Tulane Environmental Law Journal, 27(2), 237-275.

Zen, I. S., Ahamad, R., & Omar, W. (2013). No plastic bag campaign day in Malaysia and the policy implication. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 15(5), 1259-1269.

Zhu, Q. (2011). An appraisal and analysis of the law of “Plastic-bag ban.” Energy Procedia, 5, 2516-2521.

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