I’m a 20-year-old Maine native, and I was moved by a recent article you published on the U.N. secretary-general’s declaration that climate change is “the most important issue we face” (Dec. 3). Climate change driven by plastic pollution in our oceans is particularly poignant.

Maine is renowned for our beautiful coastal waters, so much so that many cities and towns in Maine, including Portland, have become bustling centers of tourism. Moreover, dozens of communities in Maine rely on our fisheries to maintain their lifestyles. Plastic pollution in our oceans will have drastic detrimental effects on our fishers, economy and coastline.

Plastic pieces are often mistaken for food by sea life and eaten. Since plastic is not digestible, it affects sea creatures’ ability to eat, grow and reproduce. Not only are there fewer and smaller sea life as a result, but in eating this seafood, we’re eating every piece of plastic within them. Several kinds of plastics have been shown to be toxic to humans when eaten, and more research is emerging to that point.

Plastic pollution in Maine’s waters will negatively affect Maine’s economy, its beauty and its tourism. Sea life, as we know it, cannot subsist with these plastics in our waters.

In the article you published, 15-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, a student much like myself, pushes world leaders to be more active in the fight against climate change. I was inspired by her work to push Maine locals to fight: for themselves, for their livelihoods, for us. The generation to come. My parents’ generation knows Maine for its seafood and coast, not for its plastic. Let’s keep it that way.

Zachary Bull


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