Step in the right direction

Dear Editor:This is in response to last week's Letter to the Editor entitled "Enviro-tyrants" (The Downey Patriot, 12/2/10). The author rants about the law banning plastic grocery bags in parts of L.A. County. These market bags can be replaced with reusable cloth bags or recyclable paper sacks for a small charge. She alleges that poor people are hurt by having to pay a few pennies for a paper sack if they don't bring a reusable bag. I have a collection of seven reusable bags, which I have been using for several years, and which cost me a grand total of $3. These bags are often given away in promotions for free. As for her fears about e-coli; fish, poultry and vegetables are almost always placed in smaller plastic bags before being loaded into a bigger one by the checkers. (The smaller bags for meat and produce are not banned, only the bigger ones.) I occasionally wash one of my bags and they all look clean despite repeated use. I have never once had a problem with e-coli. I'm really tired of seeing plastic market bags blowing down the street, tossed in gutters and next to wide-open gutter drains. How many large gutters have any kind of screen over them to stop trash from going to the ocean? None where I live. I'm tired of excuses by narrow-minded, lazy people who won't do their part to reduce waste going to landfills or properly sort the trash they throw out into clean recyclables and garbage. The new Ecosystems exhibit at the California Science Center in Exposition Park shows how trash does not decompose in landfills; after 10 years the plastic items, toys, shoes, etc. just sit there covered with dirt but have not decomposed at all. Trash in our streets goes down gutter drains to rivers which carry this waste to the ocean where it collects in massive quantities of trash and garbage and harms sea creatures as well as our environment. We need to change our way of thinking and stop being a disposable society just throwing things in the trash without another thought. We are running out of landfills and it will cost more to transport trash to faraway locations to bury. It is clear that many people won't voluntarily change behavior which is comfortable for them, so we must pass laws such as the plastic bag ban. When one sees dinosaur bones which have been preserved underground for millions of years, one must consider the consequences of throwing away so many plastic and recyclable items into our trash cans where they will stay underground forever. We must all do our part to clean up and protect our environment, and the law banning plastic grocery bags is just one step in the right direction. -- Anita Rivero, Downey

********** Published: December 9, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 34