March 2018 IELTS Writing Task 2 Model Essay

Below is a model IELTS writing task 2 answer for an essay question reported in the IELTS test this month. The question was reported in the test on March 3rd.

You will also find on this page:

  • a link to learn plastic bag facts
  • useful vocabulary for this topic

IELTS Essay Question March 2018

In many countries plastic shopping bags  are the main source of rubbish, causing pollution on land and in the water, so people think they should be banned. To what extent do you agree or disagree?


IELTS Model Essay March 2018

Some people think that plastic shopping bags should be prohibited because they are one of the major pollutants of both land and water around the world. I completely agree, but I think there are other measures that can be taken before putting a complete ban in place.

The reason that plastic bags should be banned in the near future is because they do not biodegrade and continue to pollute the environment for hundreds of years after being discarded. Plastic bags are often used only once, and end up clogging the land and polluting the water, causing about 100,000 marine animal deaths each year. Even when plastic does start to break down, it fragments into micro plastic which causes even more damage to all life on Earth. The only way to prevent throw-away plastic, such as plastic shopping bags, from seriously and irreversibly damaging our planet is to prohibit it.

However, it is best to try to change consumer behaviour before completely banning plastic bags. Plastic bags are not a vitally, necessary plastic product, only a convenience and customers should learn to replace them by using bags from home. Another step to deterring people from using so many plastic bags is by putting a high price on them  which will encourage people to reuse them.  Finally, having recycle bins by which customers can get cash back for depositing used plastic bags will also help. By altering consumer behaviour, it is a good way of raising awareness of plastic pollution as a whole and this can lead to more action on other unnecessary plastic products in the future.

In conclusion, an eventual total ban on plastic bags is crucial to preserve life on this planet and protect it from the effects of throw away non-biodegradable products.

Word count – 295

Plastic Bag Facts

Learn 7 amazing facts about plastic bags on this page: Plastic Bag Facts

Useful language List

  • ban / prohibit
  • discard
  • biodegradable / non-biodegradable
  • fragment
  • micro plastic
  • throw away products
  • marine life / marine animal
  • irreversibly damage
  • pollutant
  • consumer behaviour
  • deter
  • recycle bins
  • cash back
  • preserve life

It is also possible to agree with one side only. See other essays posted by students for this essay question – Other Student Essays


Advanced IELTS Writing Task 2 Lessons with Liz: Learn the right techniques for a high score!

Click here: IELTS Writing Task 2 Lessons

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  1. some people believe that the Earth is being harmed by human activities ;other ,However ,feel that human activities make the Earth a better place to live to write.

  2. Fasina niyi says

    Liz, I did my speaking test today and the cue card question was on politeness. I followed all your advises and the test was awesome at the end of the day. Thank you so much for all tips, please any advice on writing, listening and reading tomorrow?

  3. Fiza khan says

    Hi liz,
    I want to thank you for your lessons, I cleared the ielts general training exam in one attempt with band score 8. You are truly talented and your teaching style is clear and easy.

    Warm regards,
    Fiza khan

  4. Ranjana Ahuja says

    Liz plz give me some tips how to improve my reading speaking and writing

  5. Hi Liz,

    I am soon giving up seriously. I keep failing at the writing part and now I just have two more attempt left before the school starts. I just don’t seem to be able to score more than 4.5(!!), which I guess mostly depend on that I can’t write more than like 150 words.. I just don’t know what to write.. Also, I find it so hard writing with free hand.. I would appricate if you could take a look at my writing and just tell me if I am doing right.. or do you maybe know someone else who can?

  6. Hi Liz,

    I am appearing for L,R&W tests tomorrow. I do believe I have been immensely benefited by your tutorials, especially the informative videos. There is a lot of content and help available online however, I must congratulate you on being the most trusted of all the facilitators. You are doing an amazing job for the society by helping thousands of people across the globe. I thank you for your work. I read your bio and noticed that you haven’t taught in India yet, but let me assure you that, you probably have more followers in India than anywhere else at the moment.

    God bless!

    Warm Regards,
    Rahul Yadav

  7. Andres Rene Hurtado Rodriguez says

    Thank you so much Liz for this page, is one of the best to prepare for IELTS material. All of your advice help to get my IELTS score!!!

  8. Hi Liz,
    I know my question is a bit accurate and maybe something that should not focus on. But, would it matter if I left lines between the paragraphs or not? would affect the structure scores?
    Thank you for your helpful tips.
    Best Regards,

    • Having clear paragraphs is part of the marking criteria and will affect your score. Leaving an empty line is the easiest way for the examiner to see your paragraphs.

  9. Hi Liz,
    Greetings from your avid fan.
    This was my actual test question and I think I fairly deliver the content though I think I got most of my points in task 2 rather than in task 1. In the first task – I was ask to compare the trends between 2 separate year and I horridly failed to do that, just my thought after the exam. It felt like I need to write faster so I can do better on task 2. Final score was 6.0, which indeed a bit of a frustration, as I consider my writing as my strength. Anyway, reckoning on my task 1, that must have been the culprit, making the first task 1 a completely zero mark. 🙂

  10. Hi Liz, I found the vocabulary particularly useful for this topic.

    This topic will in march?

  11. Hello Liz,
    I hope you are doing well.
    My exam will be next Saturday and would like to know if you can give me a comment on this:
    If the question asks me to give “advantages and disadvanceges” or “Do the advantages outweigh disadvantages”, the latest without saying “do you think”
    Should I write the essay in 3rd person? (i.e. omitting phrases like “In my opinion….”)
    Thank you in advance and sorry for taking your time

    • The first one are direct instructions, the second is a question. Any question requires your own personal answer.

  12. Arman Sadeghi says

    Dear Liz
    I’m an IELTS tutor and I have been using your excellent materials ever since Ive started teaching. The issue that has concerned me a lot is that there are mixed reactions regrading a specific boodlk I use a lot ” writing by Mat Clark” and it somehow makes me feel I might do harm to my students by refering to it constantly. I would be very thankful to you if you provide me with a short feedback.

    • I don’t offer feedback on books. However, I will say that I have never found a book that I consider good for IELTS writing. Nearly all of them fail to offer appropriate advice and safe models. For this reason, the first advanced lessons I made were for writing. Glad you like my lessons 🙂

  13. Hi liz
    Is it rite to read newspaper to enhance reading and writing score

    • Reading newspapers will enhance your speed reading and your vocabulary. But it will not help you learn techniques for different question types in IELTS reading. So, it helps,but there is still more you must do.

  14. Amanpreet says

    Hi Liz
    Thanks for amazing tutorial videos.

  15. It has been observed that many countries where use of plastic shopping bags are very common, are the cause of water and air pollutants. These pollutants pollute the agricultural land and sources of water like river, ponds and water falls. Polluted water is hazardous for human as well as the earth. Many people think that it should be banned.
    As for as my opinion is concerned I agree to the statement and have similar observation in the society. In order to reduce pollution some necessary steps can be taken one at the government level like awareness campaign to educate the society that, how the use of plastic shopping bags is harmful for the society and similarly for the water and land. Either to dispose it properly or not to through in streets and water ponds. Either use biodegradable shopping bags.
    Another measurement can be taken at individual level which is to discourage to accept goods in plastic bags which is not biodegradable or completely reject it. Individuals can start use of canvas homemade bags which are less costly and for life re-usable more strengthen, it will reduce the consumer paid per purchase cost. Need to alter consumer behavior, it is good way of raising awareness of plastic pollution as whole and can lead to more actions on other unnecessary plastic products in the future.
    Most of the sea animals are being dead due to plastic bag pollution specifically water creatures have breathing issue if someone stuck into the plastic bags.

    In conclusion, and eventual total ban on plastic bags is critical to preserve life on this planet and protect it from the effects of throw away non-biodegradable products.

  16. Hi Liz, can I use this phrase in Writing Task 2 ? This essay delves the issue, examine the arguments from both perspectives and reach to a logical conclusion at the end. Or any phrases which show what I am going to describe. Thank you in advance. Irina.

    • The examiner is marking you on your own level of English, not your memory. Each sentence should be uniquely created by yourself. Memorising sentences is a form of cheating – this is a language test – use your own sentences!

  17. Ameenulah says

    Plastic shopping bags are considered as a primary cause of pollution both on land and in seas.while this is an established fact and it carries with it a very high risk to mankind on land and my opinion, in order to nip the pollution evil in the bud,both Govt and individuals should constitute laws to ban manufacturing of plastic shopping bags,create awareness amongst populace and offer viable alternative options to the society.(introduction)

  18. Muhammed AYDIN says

    Hi Liz,
    Thank you very much for your all great helps to us regarding IELTS.
    I also participated in this exam, and I would like to know your worthy opinion about my essay,s structure which I have written for this topic.
    I told that I totally agree for two reason: 1) in first paragraph I discussed its harmful effects on land particularly serious effects on farmland due its non-biodegradeable nature which cause some irreversible changes in soil content and consequently in long turn cause significant negative consequence on our food stores. As well as this, plastic waste materials cause physical pollution on our lands because they are not able to be eradicated or converted to soil ingredients like organic materials.
    İn second paragraph I argue about its delererious effects on water and mention that since this material is a non-recycleable material because its chemical structure which is a carbon polymer, if it enters to water environments such as seas, rivers and lakes, it is more likely to enter the body composition of sea creatures which make up one of the most important food sources of humans. As a consequence, the incidence of some lethal disease in human can increased due to toxic features of plastic materials. To illustrate, recently some stories in the media highlighted that the prevalence of intestinal cancers increased in northern side of Iran beside the Caspian sea due to increasing the amount of plastic waste material which is dropped into the sea.
    Finally, in the conclusion section i give my reason again but with synonym vocabulary and at the end I advice that government should encourage people to reduce plastic bag consumption.
    Thank you again and I will wait your commemt.

    Best Regards,

  19. Hi Liz, Thank you for posting this essay! Just a quick question: The thesis statement above is ‘I completely agree…’ and then gives an alternative opinion that ‘other measures that can be taken’. Does that mean we do not completely agree? Please do let me know as I am appearing for my IELTS academic, through computer mode, next week. Thanks again.

    • It does not give an alternative. It says I 100% agree with banning but not immediately. The whole essay is about step by step options towards a total ban. The ban is the aim.

  20. Hazel buenafe says

    Hi liz,
    Thank you so much for this information. Its help me to understand little by little by reading the comments from other people’s opinion. I still have a long time to prepare for the test. But i will start studying and reviewing now. By the help of your site. Thank you for your help. May God bless you always.

  21. Hi liz
    I wrote that in the exam.

    Environmental pollution can be attributed to many different causes such as industries, transportation, agricultural activities, trading activities, residences and plastic waste including shopping bags. Plastic shopping bags are widely used around the world; however, they are not being disposed properly. Some stores in the West have decided to stop using plastic bags to save the environment from this potential catastrophe. I strongly agree with few stores that stopped using plastic bags and I support banning the use of those bags for several reasons that will be stated in this paper.

    Plastic shopping bags have negative impacts not only on land but also on animals and the environment. Plastic shopping bags accumulation on land can lead to disasters, especially when they are stuck in the drainage systems which may lead to floods. Also, these plastic shopping bags are influencing the life of various types of wild life as they ingest plastic shreds and debris. Birds in particular have been found dead as a result of ingesting plastic waste. Lastly, plastic shopping bags have similarly contributed to environment pollution. This can be noticed in the North Pacific Ocean where the plastic bags debris has contributed to what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

    The negative impacts of plastic shopping bags can be addressed by following measures. First, children and adults should be educated about the mentioned negative effects of plastic bags. Secondarily, the government should implant a program to reduce the use of plastic bags. Thirdly, stores can start charging for plastic bags to promote the use of reusable bags.

    In conclusion, the plastic shopping bags have several harmful effects on the land, wild life and the environment. Plastic shopping bags should be banned to avoid these negative effects.

  22. Land and water pollution are caused by a number of factors in a lot of countries, with plastic shopping bag seen as the major pollutant thereby causing people to think their useage should be prohibited. I completely disagree with idea of having them completely banned as I believe is they are properly managed and disposed it will eliminate completely any possible harm they can cause to both land and water habitat.
    Firstly, the reason why people should be allowed to continue the using plastic bags is because they are very affordable. Unlike other bags, plastic bags are water resistant and very durable hence they are reusable. This eliminate the cost of having to buy expensive bags that can be used once only and disposed. Secondly, the manufacturing of plastic bags are also cheap, as they require the use of less Chemical and even lesser energy during production leading to the overall sales price being cheap. Factors producing these plastic bags have even less chemicals released into the environment until other bag manufacturing companies that tend rho release harmful chemicals into drainages that lead to larger water bodies thereby causing harm to aquatic lives. Thirdly, plastic bags are completely recyclable, they can made into other beautiful items such as flower vases used in the beautification of our homes.
    On the other hand, the harm cause by these bags can be totally avoided. For examples, in many developed countries people are paid to trash their plastics to those that recycle them thereby decreasing the number of practice thrown on the street and in drainages. This completely eliminate the likely challenges that they lose in water and on land.
    In conclusion, government should enforce laws of recycling plastics instead of prohibiting their usages as they are not hazardous if properly disposed thereby posing no threat to the environment.

  23. P S Karnik says

    Thank you for a madel answer – I found the vocabulary particularly useful for the topic. Regards

  24. Hey Liz, your blog is full with meaningful resources. Appreciate your continuous assistance .

  25. Anubhav Saini says

    Hi Liz,

    I also appeared in IELTS General Module Test which was on 3rd March. My question was different. It was,

    “Some people spend lot of money in buying tickets for cultural events and sports these days.
    Is it good thing or bad thing? Discuss.”

    I answered the question by putting only positive sides. I completed the task in total four paragraphs.

    Paragraph 1 – Introduction and gave my opinion on positive sides – Financial Benefits + Social Benefits.

    Paragraph 2 – Discussed financial benefits

    Paragraph 3 – Discussed social benefits

    Paragraph 4 – Conclusion by making my statements on financial and social benefits.

    Initially, I thought it is quite difficult topic but after little brain storming, ideas came in my mind. I developed said two points and then gave supporting sentences.

    Thanks to you. Your blog helped me a lot.
    But, unfortunately I didn’t well in listening test. It was quite tough… Anyways!

    Thanks again…

    • You need to think very carefully what the instructions were. If the instructions were: “Is this is a good or bad thing?” – then it’s fine to take one side. But if the instructions were “Is this is a good or bad thing? Discuss.” Then you need to discuss and give your opinion. Always follow the instructions carefully.

  26. Rawia Obida says

    Thank you so much Liz
    much appreciate your continues helping

  27. Anunkor Chisom says

    Thank you very much for your time nd guidelines. Am grateful

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