Letters to the Editor

Looking at the long term consequences of plastic | Letter

Kirkland letters - Reporter file art
Kirkland letters
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There have been some good articles on both sides of the issue of a ban on single-use plastic bags for Kirkland and I would like to direct you to an article in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 26. Go here and you will learn that this term refers to ecosystems that live in human-made plastic environments in our oceans.

Researchers are finding that when plastic products find their way into the oceans, microbes accelerate the breaking down of the plastic into micro particles smaller than grains of salt, and causing harmful chemicals to leach into the water. Bacteria and other microscopic organisms grow on these microplastics, which are showing up in the food chain. Everything from plant algae to fish and birds are responding to the effects of plastics in their food systems with negative physiological conditions.

It is only recently that scientists are actively studying the negative impacts of plastisphere on the ocean environment. However, already in 1972, a professor of microbial ecology in California found that microbes were attaching themselves to plastic particles. He speculated that hazardous chemicals appearing in ocean animals may have leached out of bits of plastic. The bacteria accumulating on these particles of plastic get ingested by single-celled animals, which in turn are ingested by larger predators. As a result, plastic in the food cycle in the ocean eventually can show up in fish products consumed by people.

Now, over 40 years later, we are starting to have a better understanding of this negative interaction of plastic in our environment. Let’s not let the convenience of having plastic bags determine the consequences of our future health and that of our ocean’s ecosystems. Kirkland has been a leader in dealing with environmental issues on many fronts, and passing a ban on single-use plastic bags is one simple policy that could benefit future generations.

Kent Kollmorgen, Kirkland

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