, Newburyport, MA

May 9, 2014

An easy step to clearing oceans of trash

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

I’m writing to support the ban on plastic bags ordinance being debated currently. It’s been framed as an inconvenience and cost by some who don’t like the idea. But that’s looking at it in too narrowly given the magnitude of ocean pollution. The huge gyres of trash floating in the oceans of the world won’t go away overnight. But they won’t go away at all if we don’t stop adding to the problem. When the Clean Water Act was passed years ago, our river was filthy. It didn’t get clean overnight, but I’m glad someone started the process. It’s our waterfront jewel now.

In my mind this ordinance is like a “trim tab.” That’s the little rudder on the bottom of an old-fashioned, regular boat rudder. A small, easy turn of the “trim tab” starts and makes turning the big rudder of a clipper ship easier. It’s fitting in my mind that this ordinance, which is modest and low cost and a small step in cleaning up a vast ocean of trash, can be a “trim tab” moment. Let’s move forward on the environment the Clipper Way. City councilors, “Turn the trim tab.”

Ron Martino