So great is the dependency on plastic that 5 trillion such bags will be used this year. With 10 per cent of this plastic winding up in oceans, the scale of the problem was brought into focus jarringly by a recent report. The size of a great oceanic dump of plastic waste, caught by circular currents in the Pacific Ocean, is bigger than previously feared. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now the combined size of the Java Sea, Strait of Malacca, Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand.
Mercifully, some countries are doing their bit to tackle plastic pollution. In England, a small charge for plastic bags was introduced which led to a reduction of nearly 90 per cent in their use. Denmark and Ireland have done the same, while other European nations will have to introduce measures to comply with the European Union's requirement of cutting plastic bag use by 80 per cent by 2019. Many other countries have implemented bans, like Kenya and Rwanda.