Plastic bags reduce consumer pollutionI consider myself an...

LETTERS

June 03, 1996

Plastic bags reduce consumer pollution

I consider myself an environmentalist and want to do all I can to leave a nice environment for future generations.

That is one of the reasons I am proud to work in the plastics industry and why I ask for plastic bags at the grocery store. Unfortunately, some people do not seem to fully appreciate the environmental benefits of plastic products.

For example, plastic grocery bags do an outstanding job and they have been designed to be thin and lightweight. In fact, it takes five times as many trucks to deliver paper bags to a supermarket as it takes to deliver the equivalent number of more efficient and compact plastic bags!

More trucks on the road means a lot more gas and other resources would be wasted for no good reason.

Additionally, I came across a study that compares the production and use of plastic bags and paper bags. Making plastic bags creates 73 percent fewer air emissions and 90 percent fewer water wastes than those created when making paper bags.

Thousands of supermarkets across the country also collect plastic bags for recycling. In a nutshell, the plastic bag is better for the environment in many ways.

Finally, many consumers use plastics for the convenience of being able to carry large loads of groceries into their homes or apartments. Many people also reuse these bags for can liners and lunch sacks.

I do agree that Baltimore would look better if we didn't have any litterbugs around. But asking the government to attack certain products is not the answer.

We should spend our time and resources on curing the disease of littering, not attacking the symptoms with outrageous government mandates that could end up actually harming the environment.

Richard Ruane

Baltimore

Loss of humanity in time of tragedy

I weep at the tragedy of Adm. Mike Boorda's suicide. I weep for his wife, his children, his grandchildren and for all who knew and loved him. But I also weep for us all. What has become of our humanity when an incident so trivial as minor addenda to symbols of distinguished achievements become a media target?

Where is the understanding that none of us is perfect? Why can we not judge another's weaknesses in the light of that person's strengths?

Have we each become so weak that we must seek our strength in other weaknesses? Do we comfort our personal pain by reveling in the pain of others?

The greater tragedy than the pain and loss of a husband, father, grandfather and leader is the void in human understanding and compassion, a void in our values.

And I weep for a society that cannot yet live values it has respected for so long. ''To err is human, to forgive is divine" and "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Doron Antrim

Reisterstown

Same-sex unions called a right

As a lesbian, I was relieved to hear of the Supreme Court's decision that lesbian and gay men cannot be singled out for deprivation of our civil rights.

I am dismayed, however, that President Clinton plans to sign a bill probiting same-sex marriages. These may seem to be separate issues, but they are unrelated only to those not directly affected by them.

Two main arguments are generally proffered against same-sex marriages. One holds that "homosexual conduct" is inherently immoral and therefore should not be encouraged or condoned. This argument questions the right of an "elite" (presumably the Supreme Court, referred to in this manner only by those who disagree with its rulings) to codify recognition of "conduct" that is considered immoral by "most" Americans (depending on whom one asks). Another argument claims that allowing same-sex marriages will "weaken the American family."

With high rates of divorce, child abuse, domestic violence and substance abuse, the American family is already in plenty of trouble. How can keeping me from marrying my life partner remedy this?

Do opponents of gay rights and same-sex marriages truly suppose that their disapproval will motivate people like me to wake up one morning, declare ourselves straight, marry fine, upstanding partners of the opposite sex and produce lots of babies (who, of course, will grow up to be heterosexual)?

A related question concerns the immorality argument. What is it exactly about the "gay lifestyle" that bothers some people so much? Could it be the working and paying taxes, doing chores, going to the grocery store? No? Is it, perhaps, about sex? Well, name any sexual practice at all and you will find greater numbers of straight people engaging in it than lesbians and gays.

Janet Goldstein

Baltimore

Pepper spray is a weapon

The recent controversy about the expulsion of Jodie Ulrich, a Baltimore County student who brought pepper spray to Chesapeake High School, is a good example of how adults send mixed messages to students about behavior and discipline.

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