“It’s up to us to slow the onslaught of plastic litter” is not just “Around New England,” as featured in the March 4 issue of The Sun, but tragically the plastic litter is everywhere, including “some of the most remote parts of the world.”

They might have laughed in 1954, but no one’s laughing now. Choking and dying is more like it in our beloved aquatic life, perhaps coming to a neighborhood near you soon! But not sure the “It’s up to us to slow ...” title matches the urgency required to address this invasive species contamination that has “Environment Rhode Island” Gov. Raimondo campaigning to ban polystyrene (styrofoam) forever in Rhode Island, citing researchers’ Western Pacific Ocean findings where in the lowest place on the planet, they found the highest levels of microplastics ever in the open ocean. Take that Ocean State! If successful, we’d join more than 200 U.S. communities that have enacted this ban.

The oceans contain 71 percent of Earth’s surface and 97 percent aof our water. Roughly more plastics were produced in this young century than the 1930-1999 carefree years, with a planned industry increase of 40 percent in the next decade. Bob Dylan’s no doubt horrified to learn his ”You Ain’t Going Nowhere” gem applies to plastics, which never leave the earth, “hiding” in: 1. ocean wildlife digestive systems; 2. coral reefs; 3. human lung tissue; 4. the bottom of the world’s deepest ocean waters; etc .

“Every minute of every day, a truckload equivalent of plastic enters our oceans. Not only are these plastics hurting or killing marine wildlife, they are impacting all of us through our seafood, sea salt, tap water and even the air we breathe” per Greenpeace plastics campaigner David Pinsky. “We know we can’t recycle our way out of this crisis as only 9 percent of the plastics ever made have actually been recycled,” with styrofoam having no place whatsoever in any recycling container. “A diamond is forever”? Maybe, maybe not, but “Styrofoam is forever”? Definitely, and should always be avoided. Thank you, Trader Joe’s, for issuing the latest phase-out of single-use plastics nationwide, moved by a 100,000-plus customer petition.

Back in 1947, before the global warming climate crisis age that we’re currently living and dying in, Smokey the Bear told us most memorably that “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” We have to start somewhere, doing whatever it takes to live our lives guided by “Only YOU can prevent styrofoam pollution”.

Jay Lustgarten

Westerly

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