School safetyThe loss of Sparks School to fire has been...

the Forum

January 13, 1995

School safety

The loss of Sparks School to fire has been devastating to many people. Everyone who attended Sparks since 1909 has lost ''their'' school. My four children attended Sparks School together in the early 1960s.

After reading in the paper that this school was not equipped with smoke detectors, a sprinkler system or an automatic fire alarm, I urge every man, woman and child to check out the school that their loved ones attend to make sure our schools are as safe as possible.

Sandra M. Ness


Cost of clean air

Americans are being bombarded with a plethora of administrative regulations.

Things we once took for granted, like driving, are becoming associated with regulatory compliance and personal frustration.

And now there's a debate raging over enhancing the Vehicle Emission Inspection Program (VEIP).

Critics of VEIP enhancement have attempted to polarize the situation. They've hypothesized horrific tales of what will happen when new VEIP standards are implemented -- damage or theft of cars being tested, hours wasted waiting in lines.

This is the rhetoric of war, and it gets us riled up and righteous. After all, we're only running a car, not some soot-producing bus, truck or industrial smokestack.

But emotions aside, cars are the single greatest contributor to ozone depletion.

Cars alone account for nearly 40 percent of the ozone-producing hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. That is 10 times the amount contributed by industry.

Buses and trucks (also subject to the new guidelines) have diesel engines, which do not produce the same types of hydrocarbons associated with ozone problems.

There are responsibilities inherent in automobile ownership. The "I only own one car" argument doesn't work in a society of car owners who collectively produce thousands of pounds of automotive air pollution every day -- especially when Baltimore's air has been rated sixth worst in the country and Washington's is 10th worst.

And especially when asthma and other potentially lethal diseases linked to air pollution are on the rise.

The new regulations will undoubtedly inconvenience car owners. However, it has been estimated that the new program will reduce automobile air pollution by 39 tons per day.

The cost of compliance is virtually zero considering the benefits of cleaning up our air.

T. L. Lozinger


Recycle it right

The holiday season has seen a tremendous turnout of recyclers at one of Baltimore's busiest drop-off centers.

As the public education specialist there, I have noticed that many people still seem to be doubtful about whether recycling is worth their time.

Do materials collected at drop-off centers really get recycled? Yes, everything goes to respective markets.

There is, however, one catch. Recycling bins cannot contain material other than what they are designed to hold. In other words, put only brown glass in the brown glass bin.

This may sound silly, but often simple recycling procedures are not followed properly. If enough people failed to follow the rules, a load of recyclables mixed with too many contaminants could have to be landfilled. That would be a waste -- literally.

I encourage folks to participate and help resolve the solid waste problem that faces today's society.

Each American generates over 3.5 pounds of trash daily. Landfill space is too valuable for us to be throwing everything away. However, if you recycle, do it correctly. Become more aware and better educated. Remember, recycling is your choice.

John Sloan


Do it now

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke says that Claude Edward Hitchcock, whom he designated head of Baltimore's empowerment zone, is "a manager and an implementer" who is skilled in "getting things done, keeping people on task, making sure they get the job done."

This sounds like the job description for mayor of Baltimore.

At the very least, Mr. Schmoke should give Mr. Hitchcock a shot at heading the Department of Public Works. Or the Housing Department. Or the Baltimore City public schools. Or . . .

Townes C. Coates


Starvation is less humane than trapping

My Dec. 21 letter on the economic and wildlife management benefits of trapping and hunting certainly evoked some hot professional and lay responses from the animal rights lobby. . . .

If only they would go about living their beliefs by not hunting, not wearing fur, not eating meat, etc. without trying to impose their peculiar ethical standards on the rest of us.

Dale Bartlett, a spokesman for the powerful animal rights lobby, cited the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and the National Academy of Sciences do not believe that massive government-sponsored trapping campaigns are a cost-effective way to control a rabies epidemic. That is true.

It is also totally irrelevant to the issue. Neither trapping nor any other means of which I am aware will eliminate endemic diseases such as rabies or sarcoptic mange from a large, widespread population of animals.

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