To the Editor:
We are a group of students called Plastic Free MV. We have been working hard all year on a bylaw that recently passed in the towns of West Tisbury and Chilmark. This bylaw limits the amount of single-use plastic in our environment by banning plastic water and soda bottles 34 ounces and under. We are doing this to protect our health and the health of all of the animals on this earth.
Plastic is everywhere, but of greatest concern to us as an Island community is the huge amount that is flowing into our oceans: more than 8 million metric tons annually. Animals routinely mistake plastics for food, leading to many deaths and injuries due to starvation or entanglement.
Plastics take hundreds to thousands of years to degrade. During that time, they are breaking up into small pieces called microplastics. These pieces end up in the ocean and our soils. Microplastics in the ocean collect toxins, and are regularly eaten by plankton and small fish. This can then work its way up the food chain to the fish we eat.
Making plastic uses fossil fuels, which contributes to climate change. Plastic bottles contain chemicals that are harmful to human health, and there is evidence that these chemicals leach into the beverages the bottles contain. The production, recycling, and incineration-based disposal of plastic waste creates toxic emissions, which further contribute to health issues.
Even when disposed of properly, plastic bottles make up a significant component of the solid waste stream, and increase our solid waste costs. We are simply asking you to do the right thing, for your future and ours. We know the danger of plastics; now is the time to do something about it.
We can do better.
With the Aquinnah town meeting fast approaching, we hope that you will support this action to help our environment and our future. We ask that you come support our cause. Please vote YES on Article 5 on Tuesday night!
Ann Marie Ralph
On behalf of the kids from Plastic Free MV