In response to Great Lakes report, microfibers should be banned

by Admin
In response to Great Lakes report, microfibers should be banned

In Sunday’s Tribune, Adriana Perez opened up Pandora’s box in her article “Report says 86% of Great Lakes litter is plastic” (April 28). The invasive increase of plastics over the decades is overwhelming, and more important is the public failing to deal with it.

Species of this planet are ingesting plastic in one form or another while plastic industry commercials stress the importance of their products.

In my estimation, along with the smallness of microbeads, the danger is synthetic microfibers. In lieu of washing machine filters, manufacturing of microfiber material should be banned.

This artificial stuff started way back with nylon and rayon and continually evolved to what’s here today. Humans have to stop solving one problem by creating another.

— Fred J. Wittenberg, Evanston

Saving Great Lakes from waste

Reading the article about plastics made me want to eat all my credit cards. You don’t have to love the Great Lakes (as I do) or to belong to the preservation society (as I do) to feel your stomach turn every time you read one of these accounts, be it in the press or in a scientific journal.

Inevitably, it reminds me of what U.S. Sen. Paul Douglas once said: “When I was young, I hoped to save the world. In my middle years, I would have been content to save my country. Now I just want to save (what’s left of) the Dunes.” And that ain’t much.

— Dennis Rohatyn, San Diego, California

Think of youths when you vote

As I near my 88th birthday, I find myself reflecting on the immense changes I’ve witnessed since my birth before World War II and Jackie Robinson’s historic baseball debut. Having lived through the evolution of technologies and societies, I see myself as quite old.

In my early years, the so-called “good old days,” we lacked not only televisions, computers and cellphones but also the abundance of choices that define modern existence. Societal norms restricted personal exploration and self-expression, forcing us into preset molds with few alternatives.

Today, in contrast, millennials, Generation Z and future generations face a world rich with possibilities. These young people dive into experimentation and self-discovery, aiming to craft fulfilling lives amid a plethora of choices that allow for the exploration of diverse identities.

However, this era of self-discovery is tainted by an undercurrent of fear and intolerance. Many resist deviations from traditional norms, showing hostility toward those who challenge their rigid views of normalcy. Targets of this animosity include individuals whose gender, skin color, language, religion, physical or mental performance, and/or personal choices stand out against conventional standards. These people often endure rejection and persecution simply for existing outside accepted norms.

I dream of a society in which American flags, pride flags and peace flags symbolize unity. I envision a future in which our children can freely determine their own paths without fear or prejudice, a future in which they make choices about their own bodies, a future in which they are happy.

When the time comes to vote, we must think of our children’s welfare and prosperity. It’s our duty to ensure they inherit a world that values and celebrates every individual’s uniqueness.

With our ballots, let’s cast votes that uphold the rights and happiness of our children, shaping a future that embraces all differences.

— Alan Wohlman, Chicago

Push for more ballot access

Two recent letters published on April 23 (“Presidential debates useless,” “Biden shouldn’t debate Trump”) very cogently argue, respectively, that presidential debates are useless and that President Joe Biden should not debate former President Donald Trump. They argue that the debates are just so much he-said-he-said that the candidates hardly ever respond to actual questions posed by the moderators but simply regurgitate prepared stump speeches and even blatantly lie. I couldn’t agree more.

Nevertheless, I think we need to carry the letter writers’ arguments further — that the voting public would be well served by hearing from more candidates. There are, after all, several people running for president from a variety of perspectives, some on third-party tickets (Greens, Libertarians), and some as independents. Some have comprehensive platform positions, and one party already has ballot access in most of our 50 states.  Why should these parties — and independents — not be heard?

Currently, these candidates are struggling for ballot access due to the onerous requirements established by the two major parties thanks to their control of the state legislatures that write the rules. Meanwhile, the two major parties have laughably small requirements for signatures for ballot access.

There is something not right in this, especially since low voter turnout and national polling have shown that public dissatisfaction with the status quo is growing day by day. So I encourage our fellow citizens to sign ballot access petitions when they encounter the opportunity.

Doing so can only improve our democracy.

— Timothea Papas, Evanston

Make public transit safe again

I had occasion recently to be stuck in traffic across from an “L” station and watched five or six trains stop and let passengers off. It was in the middle of rush hour, and I was struck by the low level of ridership on the trains, trains that I used to take some years ago, trains that used to be standing room only during peak times.

Then I read in the Tribune that the mayor’s office was grappling with what to do with $80 million in federal funds that are in “use or lose” status (“Johnson to shift $80M in ARPA spending, will restart guaranteed income program,” April 30). And, it seems, everyone is bemoaning the sad state of the CTA, Pace, Metra and public transit in general.

Here is my suggestion: $80 million would buy a year’s worth of about 600 cops. Put them on buses and trains, some in uniform and others not. With a lot of publicity. This is not nuclear physics, folks. The reason public transit numbers are down is because of fear. Fear of crime. This is fixable.

Even thinking about a $5 million “sobering center” (as reported by the Tribune in the same article) suggests, at least to me, that a progressive agenda is devolving into a regressive agenda. Yeah, helping drunk people is admirable; restoring faith in public transportation (and then the public streets) is mandatory.

Perhaps the public good would be better served by 23-year-old tactical officers riding the Red Line between 95th and Howard than protecting the public from the hazards of driving without seatbelts.

— Stuart Linderman, Wilmette

Don’t defend the AR-15 rifle

The tragic and horrific deaths of four law enforcement officers in North Carolina showcases the infamous AR-15 rifle. It is able to penetrate traditional body armor. It is not used for hunting animals; just humans.

Perhaps now, the gun apologists may have to rethink their passionate defense of this favorite gun used by school shooters in the massacre of innocents. The day they stop protesting the banning of these guns and start protesting the banning of books, this country will take a giant step forward.

— Joanne Hoffman, Highland Park

Parenting classes could help

Willie Wilson wrote an interesting op-ed about racial bias in education in Chicago supported by statistics that show amazingly poor scores in math and reading ( “Is implicit bias preventing Black leaders from helping their communities?” May 2). He offers suggestions for plans to act on these deficiencies that challenge local government and agencies to work on these problems.

A measure that could be added is for parenting classes to be offered to all parents. All learning begins and continues at home, and most parents need guidance to know how to best give that learning.

— Nancy Ward, Yorkville, Illinois

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