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Letter to the editor: Clearing the airwaves and the water

Locally and globally, we have created a plastic pollution pandemic. The scientist credited with the discovery of garbage accumulation in the ocean just returned from his 20th anniversary research trip and confirmed that the Gyre is growing. Of course it is, because we keep feeding it.

A surfer/fisherman friend called my attention last week to KOGO radio where a substitute “shock jock” was spewing what she claimed was the truth about this — the Gyre is a lie, plastic bags aren’t even plastic, suffocation isn’t possible by putting one over a child’s head, grocery stores are profiteers, etc.

Some folks can’t live without their plastic bags, hate the grocers for extorting 10 cents per bag (paper and plastic), need them for pooper scooping, and suggest reuse as a brilliant idea.

As legislation (SB270) is pending in Sacramento, KPBS aired a more rational interview with a Surfrider representative and a plastic industry spokesperson. Hawaii has a ban, but not officially statewide.

After 20 years of studying the research, publishing in another local paper, and addressing my own plastic addiction: I have never purchased a plastic bag and never will, I changed my habits such that I rarely need one, I don’t line my trash cans with them, I use junk mail paper to pick up behind Rover, I get a 5 cent credit for bringing my reusable bags to Sprouts and Ralphs. And if I owned a plastic factory, why wouldn’t I retool and produce something better than poison packaging and hire more people, not less?

Recycling can only account for a fraction of the waste we create, because the majority of plastic garbage is either landfilled into someone else’s neighborhood or “baled and shipped to China.” Quoth the VP of EDCO in 2010.

Of course plastic is a necessary product, but there’s too much of it in the waste stream. We cannot continue polluting like there’s no tomorrow, then wonder why the water is fouled and our kids are sick. I care how I leave the planet for the next generation and the health of the fish on my plate.

Thank you, Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson, for singing us back to our senses with efforts to protect the garden and the sea. They are leading where others have their heads stuck in the sand. Sadly, that sand is full of plastic.

Celia Kiewit


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