Restaurants can lead way in recycling
As a bartender, I am writing in order to share my increasing awareness of a largely overlooked contributor to our garbage crisis: restaurants and bars.
Maryland is a beer-drinking state, producing a daily amount of empty bottles and cans which go directly into our landfill space. Where I am working, over 200 beers are served each day, and these "empties" go straight into the trash.
At the end of every night, as many as eight large plastic trash bags full of beer containers, styrofoam plates and plastic cups are tossed into a dumpster. When we consider that this is only one restaurant out of the hundreds in the state, and the thousands across the country, this picture becomes appalling.
The obvious solution to this problem begins with the mandatory use of returnable beer bottles. The average restaurant owner, because of the additional burden, is unlikely to take the responsibility of recycling upon himself. The action must, therefore, begin at the state level with the enforced use of returnable bottles and an accompanying deposit fee.
If the effort of recycling is too great, then avoid using the disposable products in the first place. Restaurant owners should take it upon themselves to eliminate all use of plastics when serving meals. Customers could be encouraged ` or, better yet, take it upon themselves ` to drink tap beer served in glasses, which gets around the bottle-return effort altogether. It is less expensive for the consumer. Furthermore, the kegs are reusable.
Since early February, I have been observing The Baltimore Sun's coverage of the airline industry. I must commend you for the objective and professional reporting of the airlines with regard to the threat of terrorism and the recession.
Throughout the intense media overreaction before, during and after the war, I expected your coverage to exaggerate every incident that was perhaps linked to Iraq. With the exception of the Virginia pipe bomb story that was prematurely attributed to terrorism from Iraq (the story was placed under a "Desert Storm" heading), the coverage of actual terrorist threats and the financial status of the airlines was not written to help or hinder the industry, or to instill fear, distrust or overconfidence in your readers. It did not appear that information was intentionally omitted, nor that misleading information was printed.
Although reporting on the airline industry during this period of high tension has been kept in proper perspective, I do not believe the public has been fully apprised of the steps taken to improve the safety and security of air travel. Is it possible that this omission contributed in some subtle way to an increased fear of flying that compounded the normal impact of the recession? Now that the war is over, what security and safety measures will be retained to protect the domestic and international air traveler and rebuild confidence in the system?
The war at home
Over the past three months I had been assigned to follow an ongoing news story for a journalism course. Although the popular choice was the gulf war, I chose to report on another "war" ` the day-to-day conflict on the streets of our nation's cities. I call this a war because it causes far more American casualties than the Persian Gulf war.
As a newcomer to Baltimore from a rural Southern town, I was shocked at the crime rate involved in urban living. Most shocking, however, is the very minimal reaction of the public to these incidents unless they involve crimes of much magnitude or longevity, such as the "shotgun bandits."
More action or reaction from the public would be a big step toward stemming the current crime problem. If the amount of time and effort the public spent arguing for or against the gulf war could be spent on the war at home we might not see as many casualties here.
The Sun and The Evening Sun enjoy being the only major daily newspapers in Baltimore. Such a privilege, however, requires great responsibility.
On May 7, an Evening Sun headline read "Babe Ruth gets stadium call." All over town passersby saw this and must have thought that this would be the ball park's name. One would have to buy the edition, turn to page "B-2" to find out this referred only to the results of a telephone call-in poll. This is irresponsible reporting because everyone knows that it only takes a few determined people to upset the accuracy of such a poll. For instance, four people working phones for two hours can produce up to 600 bogus "votes."
"The House That Ruth Built" was, and still is, Yankee Stadium. If Baltimore is to retain the respect of major-league baseball and its fans, the new stadium should never be named Babe Ruth park.
If you would want to consider a title befitting the impending reality of next year, how about "Gridlock Stadium"?