Protect us from toxic environment

By From page A8 | March 08, 2013

Bob Dunning thinks the plastic bag problem is solved by allowing us the choice to use them if we want, not to use them if we don’t want.

No the problem is not solved. Others’ use of plastic bags affects me. My use affects them.

The use affects me, because plastic bags can kill wild animals. The animals eat the bags and, plastic being non-nutritious, the animals die of starvation.

OK, maybe others don’t give a hoot about animals starving to death. They should give a hoot about plastic bags, though, if they eat fish. Anyone who eats fish could well be ingesting toxic by-products from the breakdown of the plastic bag that they threw away.

The problem of toxic plastic in the environment is not solved by allowing people to use plastic as they wish. The problem is solved by preventing the use of the plastic in the first place.

I get the sense from Dunning’s articles that he is not much of a socialist. I am a socialist. But perhaps we can both agree that neither of us wants a toxic environment? And can we agree that because most individuals are not that good at protecting the environment, maybe some government regulation to protect the environment, and therefore ourselves, is necessary?

So, yes please, let us ban all those things that Dunning mentioned — cars from city centers, cigarettes and cozy fires — because their use harms others. Harm to others is why we ban speeding, theft, arson, sale of heroin. We don’t have to ban the Easter Bunny, though, Mr. Dunning — it doesn’t harm anyone.

As for the Republicans that Dunning suggests we might ban, I would prefer other fates for some of the politicians among them.

Sandy Harcourt

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