A two-pronged approach is urgently needed to tackle the problem: lobbying governments to phase out use of the bags as soon as possible, except in exceptional cases, and persuading consumers that they should refuse to use the bags.
Seven of the 10 largest plastic producers are oil and natural gas companies, so as long as they are extracting fossil fuels, there will be a huge incentive to manufacture plastic.
The fight against the use of fossil fuels and the switch to renewables should help counteract the rising production of plastics. The majority of pollution originates in countries such as China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, though it was our own industrial revolution that triggered the developments that led to the current situation. But we can follow countries such as Belgium in putting in place mitigation measures, and thereby become a role model.