Sup­port ban on poly­styrene

Record Observer - - Opinion - KATHERINE SCHINASI Cen­tre­ville

With the board­walk, re­stored wet­lands, and kayak launch at the Cen­tre­ville wharf, town and county res­i­dents now have ac­cess to some of the fea­tures that make our area so spe­cial. Yet with ex­panded ac­cess comes ad­di­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect those re­sources. And there is one highly vis­i­ble area where we are fall­ing down: TRASH.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Cor­sica River Conser vancy have been lead­ers in trash cleanups — mark your cal­en­dars that this year’s cleanup is sched­uled for April 30. The county has in­sti­tuted res­i­dent-sup­ported events un­der the spon­sor­ship of the County Com­mis­sion­ers and sev­eral schools are fo­cus­ing their ed­u­ca­tional and com­mu­nity ser­vice ac­tiv­i­ties on pro­tect­ing our wa­ter­ways. But as one can see by driv­ing on so many of our trash­laden roads, clean­ing up the end of the trash stream is not enough.

To that end, bills have been in­tro­duced in this year’s Gen­eral As­sem­bly to help at the front end by lim­it­ing the use of poly­styrene, more com­monly known as Sty­ro­foam, in food con­tain­ers. Sty­ro­foam is one of the most com­mon types of lit­ter across the state. When it blows into our storm drains and rivers, it breaks up into tiny pieces that ab­sorb 10 times more pes­ti­cides, fer­til­izer, and chem­i­cals than other forms of plas­tic. Th­ese tox­ins are first con­sumed by ma­rine life and then work their way up the chain. Stud­ies have shown that all of us al­ready have some poly­styrene in our sys­tems.

Poly­styrene lim­its have al­ready been suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented in Prince Ge­orge’s and Mont­gomery coun­ties where man­u­fac­tur­ers and dis­tributers have found sus­tain­able al­ter­na­tives at com­pa­ra­ble costs.

A state-wide ef­fort would in­crease the health, recre­ational, and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits and bring the costs of al­ter­na­tives down even fur­ther. Our leg­isla­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tives — Jay Ja­cobs, Jef­fer­son Ghrist, Steve Arentz, and Steve Her­shey Jr., would do the Queen Anne’s County res­i­dents a ser­vice in sup­port­ing pas­sage of HB229 and SB186. Let them know they have your sup­port.

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