The June edition of National Geographic presented an article called “Plastic Apocalypse,” along with many photos illustrating what terrible damage we have done to our lands and oceans through the massive littering of plastic products of all kinds.

There is a plastic garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean larger than the state of California. Municipal landfills are full of this plastic, which often blows away and into our trees and yards. Land and sea animals are choked or entangled in plastic debris. The ocean is full of tiny particles from broken objects.

We are all responsible for this problem and should do what we can to change things. First of all, we should read the National Geographic article. We should recycle all recyclable items we no longer need. We should use only cloth shopping bags, and we should hold corporations responsible for their contributions to this disaster.

National Geographic practiced what it was preaching by sending the June magazine in a paper wrapper instead of a plastic one. However, last week I received an item I’d ordered from L.L. Bean. It came in not one but two plastic bags. The outer bag was much bigger than necessary for the item inside.

I once thought of Bean’s as a corporation concerned for the environment – no longer. We must demand that Bean’s, the supermarkets and other retailers return to paper packaging or to other biodegradable materials for their products. We must also find ways to clean up and re-use the plastic trash that we have turned loose on the planet.

Isabel Denham