Letters To The Editor
By ohtadmin | on June 07, 2023
Miracle To Menace
To The Editor:
The proliferation of plastics in our modern lives has turned this miracle material of convenience into a menace. The challenge becomes how to tame a monster that seems so essential to our daily lives; yet threatens to "wash up on our beaches and into animals’ mouths and our own bodies." The co-founder and CEO of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Dianna Cohen, refers to the fact that our planet is facing an "urgent single-use plastic pollution crisis." Clearly, single-use bags are only part of a much larger plastics problem; and one might argue for attention to other environmental threats to our collective health and the future of the planet, but our casual disregard heightens the risk and increases the demand for our prioritized attention. There are a myriad of forms that plastics take and when we consider its centuries-long afterlife, along with the damaging effects that result, we can begin to see why this is a matter for urgent attention.
The sobering realities about our use and dependence on plastics is just the tip of the iceberg. We have to raise our awareness to see how we perpetuate the problem through our purchases and patterns of use. Next, we have to consider the political and economic implications that influence our use of plastics and fuel a profit-driven industry explaining why it is difficult to reduce or eradicate their presence in our lives. As I am writing this, I am forced to recall a purchase I made just a couple of weeks ago while on vacation. Although I knew that I had two metal water bottles at home, I purchased a new water bottle with a carrying case and shoulder strap that is all plastic, except for parts of the zipper and attached hardware. The eye-catching packaging and utilitarian presentation of the item made it so appealing that I blocked out the concerns that I would normally have had about owning it. I would venture to say that many of us experience such blockages in our consciousness as we mindlessly reach for bottles of hair care items, toothbrushes or straws. At a time when we have to carefully choose our battles this may seem insignificant; however it is not, because the environmental impact is one that continues to have a devastating effect on our planet.
Just a few months ago, I visited the Hudson River Museum and saw an exhibit symbolically showing the damage done to our oceans by plastics. It was on that visit that I picked up a copy of a little book entitled: "Taking on the Plastics Crisis," by Hannah Testa, a sustainability advocate and founder of Hannah4Change, an organization dedicated to addressing issues related to the harming of the planet. At fourteen, she spoke at the Georgia State Capitol on Plastic Pollution Day, a day that she helped to create. In her book, she states: "Over the course of 2017, I started to see the plastics industry for what it really was: powerful corporations and lobbyists, people paid by companies to influence politicians. And the last thing they wanted was for a speech like mine to be heard. In fact, the plastics industry came out in full force to stop this event from happening, and when I really think about it, their actions can be summed up in one word: fear…Fear that I might shine a light on the realities of single-use plastics and their negative impact on the environment, animal welfare and our health. Fear that the industry could lose money, as I saw it a decline in the use of plastic."
Hannah cites the advancements that have been made because of plastics including "prosthetics and heart valves," and parts for lunar space travel and airplane parts. She concludes that "too much of anything can be a problem." By 2050, it is projected that plastic production is expected to quadruple, "further adding to carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change." It is stated that "some studies are finding plastic in rain, Arctic snow and human feces," according to the Medical University of Vienna in Austria. There are also reports that "300 million tons of plastic are produced each year around the globe, which is equivalent to the weight of the entire human population." Hannah points out that "Plastic begins in the ground as crude oil," and "Roughly eight million metric tons of plastic make their way into the ocean each year which is equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world. Plastic debris uses up oxygen as it degrades, decreasing oxygen levels necessary for the survival of marine life and ultimately humans who rely on the ocean for oxygen." In case there is anyone who needs more reasons to address the plastics crisis, she highlights a link to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, hormone disruption and other illnesses. Other countries where we export our trash struggle with their own issues and certainly don't want to continue to endanger their people or environment with our problem. It may be difficult for us to conceptualize this problem, but if we think that the plastic cup in our hand holds the possibility of being part of something called an ocean "gyre" where circulating ocean currents create a vortex that draws this refuse, over time becoming a massive area of collected plastic debris with the potential for a centuries long shelf-life, we might want to reconsider some of our choices. I certainly have.
Dr. Sharon CadizLong Island CityTo read the full letter, visit Qgazette.com.
We All Pay For Shoplifting
To The Editor:
As being reported, shoplifting is on the rise and is hurting all of us consumers. It has been brought to my attention that shoplifters have been more brazen and violent and Albany refuses to crack down. Meanwhile Walgreen's and Duane Reade drug stores have been forced to lock some things up and have made purchasing inconvenient. I shop at Walgreen's drug store in Glen Oaks Village and certain items I wish to purchase are behind plexiglass and under lock and key. I have to ring a bell to get someone to unlock the plexiglass so I can get what I want to buy. Sometimes I have to wait a few minutes till some clerk unlocks the plexiglass. I have spoken to one of the clerks and have been told they have to do this to prevent all the stealing. So very sad. But added to all that, when shoplifters steal, store owners have to raise their prices and that hurts all of us, and especially seniors like myself. Let me point out I have been working in retail for over 50 years and still working, and I have never seen such stealing and violent behavior till now. This must stop because we are all paying for it!
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.Bellerose
To The Editor:
The story in Saturday's NY Post about Duane Reades and Walgreen's stores throughout the city having to basically lock up most of their items to prevent shoplifting is really a shame. Has it come to this point in our society that basic necessites now have to be locked up, and if customers need those items, they have to request and wait for a store employee to unlock the shelf in order to get the item? Walgreen's and Duane Reade are two of the largest drug store chains in the city. People now are so desperate that they have to just grab and run, which is of course, illegal. Society really has taken a downturn ever since the pandemic struck three years ago, and people just do not seem to care about anyone but themselves these days.
John AmatoFresh Meadows
To The Editor:
I am appalled that book banning occurs in libraries and in schools. This is unconstitutional of course and violates the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. Why should the Bible be banned? It is the parents’ choice to have their children read books. This is so anti-American in every sense of the word
I am glad that the debt ceiling bill was signed by the president. Teamwork is important among lawmakers for all are working for one nation. I am not happy about the fact that in two years we’ve had another headache about raising the debt ceiling. Amendment 14 must be able to be used to avoid this situation and in September there will be a problem with funding the government and no shutdown, please.
I am glad that there will be a gun buyback program. Gun violence must end. Also a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to end violence is going to be held today. Great, but lip service is not gun control at all.
It is terrible that there is a paucity of cancer medication.
YAI Central Park Challenge will take place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to raise money.
Also no work concerning affordable housing for this legislative session.
Cynthia GroopmanLittle Neck
‘Fare Hike Is Fair’
To The Editor:
The MTA's announcement of proposed fare increases is both fair and reasonable.
Fare increases for MTA New York City Transit Bus, Subways and Staten Island Railway, MTA Bus along with Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad have been periodically required every few years. Fare hikes are needed if the MTA and operating agencies such as the above are to provide the services millions of New Yorkers count on daily. They are inevitable, due to increasing costs of labor, power, fuel, supplies, materials, routine safety, state of good repair, replacement of worn out rolling stock, upgrades to stations, yards and shops.
Too many have forgotten that it was 27 years ago, in 1996, when Metro Cards were first introduced. These provided free transfers between the subway and bus. This eliminated the old two-fare zones, making public transportation an even better bargain. It has been eight years since the $2.75 base fare was adopted.
Purchasing a weekly or monthly Metro Card, using OMNY (rides beyond 12 per week are free), LIRR or Metro-North commutation ticket reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips. Employers offer transit checks which help subsidize a portion of the costs.
In the end, quality and frequency of service is dependent upon a secure revenue stream. We all will have to contribute – be it at the fare box or tax revenues generated by different levels of government redistributed back to the MTA.
TANSTAAFL or "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch" or in this case a free ride.
Larry PennerGreat Neck
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