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Letters: Are you more environmentally conscious than a fourth-grader?

Johnson City Press • Apr 12, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Last week, our Question of the Week asked about plastic waste and how we should properly deal with it. Ashley Academy fourth-grade teacher Scott McIlquham asked his students to write answers to our question, and then sent them to us. Here are some of the students’ thoughts.

Three answers

My name is Fiona and I am concerned about the world’s use of plastic. Plastic has only been invented for 112 years and in that time humans have been able to mess up the world with plastic. We are messing up animals’ homes even more than we have ever been. This has to stop right away.

My answer to your first question, “What should we do with our waste plastic?”​ is to break it down and destroy the waste plastic after people have used it. Plastic that can’t be recycled, can still be broken down and destroyed. Then we can reform the waste plastic that we broke down into water bottles that are made of a material that can break down.

My answer to your second question, ​”Can we make changes to our recycling practices to reclaim and reuse it?” i​s, yes. To reclaim our recycling, we can use a kind of bacteria called the ​Ideonella sakaiensis. This is a special kind of bacteria, and I think we can just plop a bunch of this bacteria down in a landfill and they can take care of all the plastic (or at least most of it) and if they do that they can help us save the world.

My answer to your third question, ​”What changes should we make in our consumption to limit the amount of plastic waste we produce?”​ is to use bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel water bottles, glass water bottles, eco-friendly coffee tumblers, cloth diapers, reusable shopping bags, and compostable garbage bags. So in conclusion, if people are going to waste plastic, then I hope they realize real soon that they will bring down the whole planet.

FIONA

Why do we need it?

It's sad to see what this world has come to with plastics killing animals that we love.

Why do we need it? What is the point of it?

Instead of plastic bottles we should bring our own water bottles to fill up with water when we are thirsty. This would help us reduce the use of plastic bottles filling our ocean or landfills. When our plastics go into the ocean they make the animals full and they can't digest plastics. Because of this the animal population of the ocean is dying. This is sad because I don't want to see them going into the edge of extinction in my lifetime.

Instead of using plastics for cups or straws we could use glass, metal or maybe decomposable materials made out of cornstarch. Another example is using bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones. All of the of these materials are either decomposable, reusable or don't hurt the environment.

And ever since 1907 we have somehow hurt the planet so much in about one hundred years and it's about time everyone works hard to achieve the goal of a good and healthy planet for animals, humans, and the environment.

Since Earth Day is coming up I hope to see some changes coming ... soon. Unfortunately, many people celebrate Earth Day for one day by protecting the environment, which is good, but they only do it for one day. It's time to change and make Earth Day every day.

ZAKARIYA

Save the turtles

We need to save animals, save the world, and stop making non biodegradable​/​non reusable products. We need to stand up and take care of the world. We can do that. It may not be convenient, but we can do it together.

My favorite animal is a turtle. It hurts me to know that everyday plastic bags get in the ocean and turtles mistake them as jellyfish and eat them. Every time they eat them they die very soon. It is the same with pelicans. They swoop down for sardines and get chunks of plastic.

Every time we throw a can on the ground it hurts the earth. If we keep doing that one day it will backfire on us. If we keep throwing junk on the planet, we could die. We need to reduce, reuse and recycle. We could reduce junk by not making it in the first place. We could reuse it by giving it to a creative kid, or if it is a soda can you could use it as a pencil holder. We also could recycle by putting it in recycling bins, and by sorting recycling.

Even though it may be very convenient, we need to stop using plastic. We need reusable​/​biodegradable products. For most of history we have lived without plastic, until 1907 in fact. We need zero-waste stores. This means they have no waste (such as plastic) in what they sell. They don’t have cereal in a box, they have them in an area where you bring your own jar, scoop some up and buy it.

So as I’ve said, we need to save the earth, the animals (not just sea life), and stop using plastic. We should start doing that by reducing, reusing and recycling.

DARIAN

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