To the Editor:
Grass versus turf. Like a lot of people on M.V., I heard the beginnings of the controversy about an artificial playing field at the high school several years ago. Grass versus artificial grass — grass with all the work, mud, fertilizer, etc., versus clean plastic, which can be used as often as needed — interesting discussion. But there were a few who saw the artificial turf for what it could become. Three strong women with vision and the stamina to see their vision through have worked tirelessly to educate the rest of us. Well, it worked on me.
I no longer see rough equality between grass and turf. I see a football field–size mat of various plastics that needs to be replaced every 10 years or so, but no way to recycle it. I see constantly deteriorating plastic covering our kids’ clothes, skin, and hair with small bits of plastic. (Yes, as it breaks down it breaks apart.) I see a field at least 10° hotter than a grass field. And then there is the PFAS issue. Deliberately putting a known carcinogen in a huge mat filtering rainwater into our only aquifer cannot be a good idea.
Now the school committee, our school committee, has voted to sue the town of Oak Bluffs because Oak Bluffs has cautiously and correctly not immediately given the school permission to build a plastic field. Taxpayer dollars go down the tube, but nobody wins in this suit.
Dardanella Slavin, Mollie Doyle, Rebekah Thompson, and their supporters have shown us the way we should be going. It is time to drop the lawsuit, put the turf field to rest, and move on with the best grass fields we can manage.