People in communities can make decisions that protect and improve the natural environment. Which ONE of the following three actions is MOST useful for people to do if they want to help the environment in their local community? Why?
1. Plant trees and create parks
2. Persuade local shops to stop providing plastic bags to customers
3. Increase access to public transportation (for example, buses or trains) to reduce the number of automobiles on local roads
Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

The environmental issues are becoming more severe. Everyone living in this earth has a responsibility to protect our natural world. There are some choices for us to make a difference. As far as I am concerned, I would like to persuade shops to stop providing plastic bags to customers as the most effective way to contribute to environmental protection.

To begin with, according to some statistics, an estimate of the number of plastic bags that are consumed every year can be 500 billion. This poses huge negative effect on land, ocean, rivers and lakes. Unlike items that biodegrade in a short time, plastic bags take hundred years to decompose, some even take 1000 years to decompose. Most of these bags actually end up in landfills and sit there for hundreds of years. This means there are hundreds of animals and birds who are at risk of injury and death by ingesting or being entangled in plastic bag flotsam. Plastic bags also pose health risks to human populations over the years as they leach toxins into water supplies. If we want to protect our environment, the simplest and most effective way is to stop using plastic bags in daily life. It also makes me feel obliged to persuade local shops to cease providing plastic bags to customers. Only when we start to make a difference in our own community, we can spread the idea to the whole city and to the whole nation and to the whole world. After all, we all only have an earth to live and we all have responsibilities to protect our earth.

Second, although planting trees and creating parks in the community can also contribute the protection of the environment, they are not as convenient as persuading shop owner to stop providing plastic bags as a way to help our environment. First of all, planting trees needs a fund to buy saplings to grow and pay for maintenance of these saplings and creating parks needs pieces of land to build up, which is by no means easy. Without these premises, we cannot achieve our goal. On the other hand, we only need to raise the awareness of how plastic bags can negatively impact the environment in the community and provide some incentives such as labeling as “green” to shop owners who are willing to stop providing plastics bags, which can also be advertising as a positive image of them. Thus, no shop owners cannot be appealing to do so.

In addition, we also need to think in a broad way to protect the environment – that is it is not only good for our community, but also it is good for the whole world. Comparing to increasing access to public transportation to reduce the number of automobiles on local road, persuading local shops to stop providing plastic bags will have a profound influence to send out the message that since plastic bags bring huge negative impact to our environment and we are imperative to stop using them that can make a huge difference for ourselves, especially for our next generations. A single step in our community, a big step on the whole planet.

To conclusion, for the reasons I mentioned above, I choose to persuade local shops to stop providing plastic bags as the most useful way to protect our environment.