The dangers of plastics

Plastic has become a defining symbol of 21st century industrial society. This past decade, the petrochemical industry produced more plastic than was manufactured during the entire 20th century.

Plastic is everywhere in consumer and industrial products, health care devices, fabrics, construction materials and single-use packaging and shopping bags. It is also everywhere in a living environment. Natural habitat all over the planet is becoming increasingly contaminated with ugly, toxic plastic waste.

In the North Pacific, a vast area of ocean is covered with a floating sludge of plastic bottles and bags. Fish, turtles, sea birds and mammals suffer painful death when plastic accidentally ingested, blocks their digestive systems. Scientists think that by the end of the century, the total weight of plastics in the water will outweigh all the living creatures in the oceans.

The tough synthetic polymers in plastics do not decompose into harmless elements when released into the environment. Plastic bags and bottles eventually fragment into pieces, that in time, get pulverized into microscopic particles that enter the food chain including fish and shellfish consumed by humans. Beginning back in the 1950s, studies have found traces of oplastic in human tissue.

Science does not know the full extent of plastic contamination on human health. In the southeast corner of Louisiana, an area known as Cancer Alley contains a concentration of petrochemical plants producing chemicals for the production of plastics. The resulting contamination of local communities with a heavy dose of toxic pollutants has produced a cancer rate five times over the national average.

Considering the dire threat of plastic pollution to human health and the environment, it is very obvious that we should not prouce more massive amounts of plastic to contaminate our planet. We have an urgent necessity to substantially minimize our production and dependency on plastic.

Unfortunately, our state legislature wants to move in the opposite direction. HB 1100 passed by the Pa. House would provide billions of our tax money to help etrochemical conglomerates like Royal Dutch Shell building ethane “cracker” plants to convert natural gas into plastic pellets, a process that would pour monumental amounts of toxic contaminants into our air and water while making a substantial contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The end result could be cancer alleys all over Pa.

Lacking a responsible reason to give tax credits to plastic manufacturing conglomerates. Pa. legislators should give serious consideration to finding a solution to the mountains of plastic trash already accumulating in our state. Landfills are overloaded with with plastic garbage.

It would make far more sense for the state to support efforts to create more effective systems to collect, recycle and re-use existing plastic waste. In addition, Pa. legislators should support research to develop safe, biodegradable materials as alternatives to the use of petrochemical based plastics in consumer, medical and industrial use. This would not only reduce toxic pollution, it would also promote job growth in sustainable industries.

Concerned citizens should contact their state senator and tell them to oppose SB 866, the Senate version of HB 1100. It is equally important to call or write Gov. Tom Wolf. Tell him to veto HB 1100/SB 866 or any version that reaches his desk.

In the meantime, on your next shopping trip, carry your own cloth bag.

David Hafer,

Lewisburg

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Coming election

Being a Democrat all my life, I went and changed to Republican so I could vote for Cuhusick. The day prior, he got out of the race!

That left me to vote for Trump or Hillary. What Hillary had on her plate, she should have been campaigning in an orange jumpsuit and her hands hancuffed behind her.

She lost, but look at the votes she got! No way was I voting for her, as my vote went to Trump.

Now, as I see this presidential scenario, Biden will be the Democratic nominee. My guess, at the last minute, guess who he’ll pick to be his running mate? Hillary! And she will wholeheartedly agree. She is betting if Biden beats Trump (never happen) she will be VP but she’s betting somewhere within Biden’s four years, he will either die, or come down with a disabling medical problem.

And guess who will step up to be our president? Her dream to become president will come true — God help us.

Now fake news and the Democrats have found a new way to take Trump down and it’s the virus plague. But again, he will triumph and be our president for another four years.

Sorry Democrats, this is how I see it. God help us if I’m wrong, we can only hope the Democrats see the light and vote for Trump!

Albert Golfieri,

White Deer

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Elected officials need to weigh their responsibilities

Several local municipalities have recently heard from individuals hoping to win support for “Second Amendment Sanctuary” ordinances. Their stated purpose is to proclaim that legally enacted common sense gun laws need not be enforced or obeyed in a so-called sanctuary.

Critically, these ordinances carry no legal weight. No municipality, township or county can decide not to enforce a law simply because they don’t like it. Determining the constitutionality of any law resides with the courts, not with local communities.

Not only do the majority of Americans support common-sense gun laws, including background checks on all gun sales, these efforts at de-legitimizing existing gun laws, while legally meaningless, can have the consequence of undermining the rule of law and confusing citizens into thinking they don’t have to obey gun laws.

Elected officials pledge their oaths to be good stewards of their community’s resources and to keep its citizens safe. In being true to their oaths, they should reaffirm their commitment and resist these and any other efforts which threaten public safety and ignore the rule of law.

Helen Nunn,

East Buffalo Township

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