To the editor,
I was glad to read Sandra Gorton Leonard’s excellent and heartfelt April 23 op-ed about plastic pollution along our shores (“We are all responsible for clean beaches and healthy oceans”). In the face of the endless tide of plastic trash, people like me can feel like no one is picking up the litter but our individual selves. We know it is not so, and we are buoyed by articles like Leonard’s, which remind us of the many others out there spending time cleaning along the coast.
I have this to add: Although it is important to pick up the plastic litter that is finding its way toward our oceans or washing ashore, this effort is inadequate. In the longer run, we should ban single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam take-out containers in our coastal communities. But right now, we should seek passage of a bottle bill that will cover more beverage containers. The bottle bill is once again before Salem Rep. John Keenan’s Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy, and if it does not pass out of it, it will likely appear as a citizen’s ballot initiative. I and other litter collectors can attest that the biggest categories of trash we collect are non-deposit beverage containers, plastic bags and foam cups. One way or another, a better bottle bill will help the ocean and should have our support.