June 1, 2012

Letters to the editor
Oceans threatened by plastic pollution

Unfortunately, throwing things away isn't always the best decision for you or planet Earth. Nowadays things are made cheaper because of our growing population and our high demand for certain kinds of products. Petroleum-based materials have taken over, and we continue to use them as a growing world.

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Plastic waste is to blame for polluting our oceans, a reader writes.

2011 Press Herald file/Gordon Chibroski

However, plastic is not such a bad thing. The only problem is the way we dispose of it. The thing that is being affected the most by plastic pollution is the ocean.

Bottled water has added to the amount of plastics being put in the ocean. Many different studies have shown that water that comes from the tap in the United States is just as healthy as or healthier than bottled water.

Fortunately, bottled water consumption rates are starting to decline but are still affecting our environment greatly. Plastic products like water bottles are so complex that when broken down they turn into microplastics, which mimic zooplankton and are consumed by fish that we eat!

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch off the coast of California is a very strong example of what plastic can do to the ocean. More than 1,000 miles long, it affects many different ecosystems and can be very life-threatening to different kinds of ocean life.

Although the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thousands of miles away from our Maine coast, it does not mean that our oceans are not being polluted as well.

As an avid fisherman myself, I worry about the future of the ocean and what this kind of pollution will do to the important organisms that fill the deep blue sea. If this throwaway culture that we have been consumed in continues, then Maine's fishing industries and wildlife could be greatly affected.

Christopher Moulton


Readers react to episodes of bullying in Westbrook

Congratulations to Tori Pabst for her courage to stand up and talk about the episodes of bullying she has endured. Thankfully some of her teachers, Ray Richardson of WLOB radio, and Bill Nemitz (Portland Press Herald, May 25) stood beside her to talk about this issue.

Too bad some who witnessed or heard about the bullying did not feel a moral obligation to support Tori and put an end to these destructive actions. Ignoring a request for help or calling the victim a "wimp or sissy" is to support the bully.

Left unchecked, bullying is as bad for the bully as it is for a victim. Expelling those who participate in these actions may not be the only answer. Bullying is a cry for help, and counseling may be more beneficial in combating this hurtful activity. Certainly, showing our disapproval of bullying is most critical.

Why do some people participate in making life miserable for another person? It makes them feel more powerful, and maybe those who follow feel accepted into a group of people who share a similar goal. They should feel ashamed of their behavior.

By law, our kids are required to go to school to become educated, responsible citizens. We pay to have them receive the best education possible. Standing by and taking no action hurts all of us by denying a safe and productive educational environment for them.

I hope everyone, students included, who observes a bully in action will have the courage to stand up, express outrage and support the victim by talking about it and taking action when necessary. It is hard to do on one's own, but together people can put an end to bullying.

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