Trash effort must address plastics
I was pleased to read of Schenectady’s new anti-litter action plan (“City lawmakers seek to address littering” ) in the Sept. 27 Gazette.
As a frequent pedestrian in Schenectady, I’ve long been disheartened by the amount of litter that blights the city.
Along with the obvious aesthetic and property value impacts, this litter has less visible but serious health and environmental consequences.
Much of the litter I see on our streets is single-use plastics that will never biodegrade, but break down into microplastics, leach toxins like PFAS, and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions long after they are discarded, even responsibly. Moreover, litter in Schenectady may actually find its way to the ocean via the Mohawk and Hudson rivers.
While the action plan’s cleanup strategies are crucial to combating the problem, it’s important to remember the original source of much litter: the plastics industry. “It Starts With Me” is a laudable sentiment, but holding producers accountable as the source of waste is necessary.
Reduction in the use of items that ultimately become litter would provide the greatest heath, environmental, and cost benefits. Other local governments across the country have successfully implemented strategies to reduce single-use plastics and needless packaging.
I hope that Schenectady’s anti-litter action plan will work with local businesses, nonprofits and educational institutions to reduce potential litter at the source by encouraging the elimination of single-use plastics.
Donna Esposito, Ph.D.
Constitution is clear on right to weapons
Why is the plain language in the Constitution so difficult to understand?
Marcus Hayes in the Sept. 30 Gazette Opinion section (“Latest school shooting should provoke change, but it won’t”) infers the Supreme Court misinterpreted a “badly written” Second Amendment of our Constitution.
He asserts that the court, the Congress and four-fifths of our states could not understand the intention of ”right to bear arms” and “shall not be infringed.”
The Second Amendment assured that states could resist a federal effort to limit the rights of their citizens. After state militias in the South supported succession, the post-Civil War court was reluctant to use the Fourteenth Amendment to protect gun rights abuses by state governments. This court has corrected that error.
He further asserts that small arms are useless against ”tanks and helicopters.” The Viet Cong and the Taliban have demonstrated that a determined armed populace with an AK-47 or an M-16 can successfully resist the best-equipped military force on Earth.
More recently the initial Russian thrust toward Kiev was blunted by Ukrainian infantry and untrained volunteers with rifles.
It is the progressive acceptance and assistance to the drug culture in cities like Philadelphia that fuels proliferation of illegal firearms. These firearms, purchased with drug money, are the tools used in the violence at Roxborough High School.
Philly’s (and New York’s) answer however is to again punish lawful firearm owners.
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