Letter to the Times: Plastic waste is everywhere

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Note: The Lawrence Times runs opinion columns and letters to the Times written by community members with varying perspectives on local issues. These pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Times staff.

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We’ve all heard about massive amounts of plastic waste in oceans and beaches. We see plastic bags stuck in trees and on the side of the road. Now plastic has been found in the air.

Plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces until it becomes tiny microplastics that are in the dust that floats in the air. These microplastics are found in the air not only in cities but national parks and remote other areas. We breathe in these microplastics, drink them in our water and eat them. Studies are just beginning to examine the effects of microplastics in animals and humans. In mice, exposure to microplastics had detrimental effects on reproduction.

The best way to begin to reduce plastic waste is to stop using single-use plastics such as plastic straws, cups and single-use plastic shopping bags. The city of Lawrence is considering an ordinance to discourage single-use plastic shopping bags. No need to wait until an ordinance is passed; bring your own reusable bag when you go shopping. Encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Better yet, write to the Lawrence City Commissioners to pass an ordinance to reduce plastic shopping bag use. Each of us can contribute to protecting our environment. Please, take responsibility and do your part today. Bring your own bag!

— Nancy A. Muma (she/her), Lawrence

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