The Costs of GarbageRecently, I was quoted in an article...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 11, 1995

The Costs of Garbage

Recently, I was quoted in an article regarding the controversy surrounding Dr. Donald Gill's landfill gases study.

I would like to correct a misconception which may have occurred due to a sentence that was placed before my quote. The sentence may lead some to believe that I approve of incineration of garbage.

This is not the case. I oppose incineration for several reasons, including pollution and cost. I do applaud any studies which provide us with information regarding the dangers associated with current waste disposal methods.

. . . It is long past the time for all of us to look at our wasteful practices and concentrate our efforts on reducing, reusing, recycling and composting.

The next time you throw out your garbage, think about what it is really costing you.

Pamela D. McClure

Bethlehem, Ga.

Defective Smokes

As a non-smoker, I felt curious about the Philip Morris' recall of defective cigarettes, in particular after seeing the full page ad in The Sun.

On a whim, I called the 800 number and was extremely amused by what I heard about these defective cigarettes: the cigarettes have a metallic or "off" taste; can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, dizziness, coughing, wheezing and the killer (or clincher) -- that pregnant women and people with respiratory conditions should not smoke these cigarettes.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that the above are the exact same symptoms that cigarette smokers endure while "enjoying" their cigarette or that this is what happens to non-smokers when they are around smokers.

Maria Alvarez

Ellicott City

Bad Crossing

Why is the traffic department so against putting a signal light on the corner of Owen Brown and Martin roads? . . . They've put up an amber blinking light and, on Owen Brown approaching Martin, they've put down white strips of rough material to slow traffic. None of this helps because visibility is nil. There's a big curve on Martin Road and any approaching cars . . . are simply not seen.

Mary Ricker

Columbia

Overreacting -- By The Book

To paraphrase an old cliche, "When in Paris, do as the Parisians do." However, this doesn't seem to apply to Wilde Lake High School students (The Sun, May 16). Apparently the consumption of alcohol in any quantity is taboo for students, even in a country where it is not against the law.

Having a daughter who took a trip to France last year, I know the feelings of parents. And realizing the responsibility of the school system for the safety of students on a trip overseas, you would think that everyone would follow the rules. In the case, it would seem to me that both sides deserve blame.

From the parental side, I believe many moms and dads allow their children to drink at home and even in social settings. Sometimes, this helps a child adapt to an adult habit, but sometimes it creates a less responsible youngster when away from parents.

This latter situation resulted in changing U.S. drinking-age laws back to 21 from 18 a few years ago. Actually, there is no good reason for having the limit placed at 21, other than the irresponsible behavior of youngsters (poor parenting). Most Europeans drink because of necessity, while most Americans drink as a mask for maturity.

Susan Cook and the school board haven't helped matters either. Following the Hickey mentality of taking no prisoners, she immediately calling for banning overseas trips. (This is an elected public servant speaking!) You can't make a mistake if you go by the book! Unfortunately, the book is frequently illogical. But it is still the book. No thinking allowed.

I believe both sides have overreacted. I see no problem with students having or not having a glass of wine at dinner in a country where it is the norm and considered part of the meal. But I also see drinking in hotel rooms ostensibly to celebrate a birthday showing a lack of responsibility and maturity on the part of students.

An example of this occurred during my daughter's tour as a page at the state legislature. Several pages ignored the ban on drinking during off-duty hours, over-drank simply becausee of peer pressure and were sent home early. Unfortunately, neither parents nor students learn from these incidents and they are soon forgotten.

If we are ever going to develop responsibility among our young people, we must allow them to judge their peers in these situations. Arbitrary county "sentences" are no way to handle matters of this nature. Unless we want to ban booze completely, we and our children must learn to distinguish between a glass of wine and a six-pack of beer.

Kids witness cheating and disobedience of the law all the time. These acts generally go unpunished or are ignored. Somehow, we must instill a sense of right and wrong in the young if we ever expect them to turn into responsible citizens.

More and more colleges are establishing ethics codes, but most of them are based on peers reporting on peers. What we have to achieve is so much peer pressure that nobody would want to cheat. This is best accomplished not by tattling or punishing offenders, but by embarrassing them and/or their parents through various types of public exposure. But as long as youngsters see their role models (parents) get away with disobeying the law, they will follow suit.

Unfortunately, Americans must have a rule which covers every aspect of their lives and allows for no deviation. The problem is that this nation has become so amoral and arrogant that our whole lives must be delineated by laws. We don't know, nor care, about right and wrong. We lean toward disobeying laws simply because we disagree with them, and yet we want everything governed by laws.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

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