To the Editor:

The time has come to put the prophetic line, “the future is plastics,” from the 1967 movie, “The Graduate,” to rest. Plastics have become so prevalent that when one wants to decrease their use, shopping becomes a dilemma – the packaging is everywhere! Anyone who has ever done roadside litter pick-up gets to witness how pervasive plastic is in our trash. The remains of dinner purchased at fast-food restaurants are seen in plastic straws, cups, bottles and cutlery! Symbols of cheap and convenient dot the landscape is a sick reminder – what was handy for seconds to minutes will remain here virtually  forever.

Now Mother Nature sends its mighty signal: we will reap what we have sowed. Floating islands in the ocean of mostly plastic debris stretch for miles. Scientists estimate at this trajectory there will be more trash in the ocean than fish by 2050. Whales are washing up dead on beaches with their entire stomachs full of plastics.

Even more troublesome, micro-plastics (plastic beat down by the elements of nature into pieces less then one-fifth of an inch) can be found even in air, and human excrement. A recent study found polypropylene and terepthalate particles in all eight stool samples from across the world. These chemicals wreak havoc with the endocrine system and may have a connection to the rise in colon cancer in young people.

Plastic is made from petroleum, and herein resides the crux of the problem. This is one of the most powerful industries in the world, and it will not allow the welfare of people or concern for the environment get in the way of profits.

Every Ohioan should know about House Bill 242: our legislators want to remove the right of local governments to do something proactive to deal with plastic waste. It should be no surprise that the language of this bill comes directly from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) with ties to the Koch brothers. Their vested interested in the conversion of shale gas into a petrochemical used to produce plastic has driven the effort to circumvent local government from carrying out health measures for the public good. 

The banning of, or taxing of, certain single-use plastics  has been shown to be a highly effective way of reducing waste as people turn to reusable bags and rethink other consumer choices.

It is infuriating that our state officials would bow down to lobbyists, ignoring the safety of our water, food and health. Please call our state senator Frank Hoagland today (614-466-6508) and demand that he stand for local government, and for the future of our children who are inheriting a mess created by our selfish and shortsighted ways. You can also contact those on the Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee to express how wrong this is.

Janalee Stock, RN

Athens

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