Is a ban on plastic straws a step too far? | July 4
Plastic in ocean
is not fantastic
As a Tampa Bay native, I am thrilled to see a concerted effort to eliminate plastics pollution in the area, and encouraged to see small business and restaurant owners leading the way toward a cleaner environment.
A great deal of ocean pollution comes from things we’ve known for a long time we don’t need, like plastic straws and polystyrene, or Styrofoam, cups and takeout containers. These unnecessary, single-use plastic products don’t biodegrade, but rather break down into smaller pieces called microplastics, which are often found ingested in hundreds of different marine species. These microplastics can also end up in our food supply; nearly half of all seabird and marine mammal species have been found to have microplastics in their systems.
Thankfully, almost 200 cities and municipalities across the country have enacted local bans on polystyrene containers and a number of local Florida businesses have committed to ocean-friendly products and practices. With Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico in our back yard, I’m counting on our local elected officials in our region to join in tackling plastics pollution, starting with a ban on single-use plastic straws.
Julia DiFabrizio, Tampa
Trump must stop
bashing NATO allies | Editorial, July 6
Allies should pay up now
Most NATO countries have been avoiding their obligations for years until President Donald Trump forced their hands. The editorial notes that the defense spending target (2 percent of GDP) was formally agreed to in 2014 but then celebrates the fact that NATO’s 2017 annual report projects that more than half of the allies are expected to meet those financial obligations by 2024. I suppose we could ask Russian leader Vladimir Putin if he would just wait until NATO countries are ready to fund the alliance. Yes, indeed we need a strong NATO, so please focus upon the real issue of our NATO allies failing to meet their obligations and sticking the United States with the bill, instead of the usual "blame Trump for everything" approach.
Noel Flynn, Wesley Chapel
Not just a women’s issue | Letter, July 6
Help the baby after birth
Unfortunately, conservative pro-life advocates in this country through their actions assure that the unborn lives they are so eager to save end up living a life under-educated, impoverished and incarcerated. They continually shirk their responsibility to ensure the poor have equal opportunity for a life other than never-ending poverty and misery !
Mitchell Wnorowski, Oldsmar
EPA’s Pruitt steps down | July 6
Not exactly a witch hunt
Scott Pruitt, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, says he resigned because of all the attacks. Is he saying he didn’t fly first class, didn’t have a "cone of silence" built, didn’t rent a room for $50 a night in a posh section of Washington, D.C., didn’t give raises to newly hired friends, didn’t try to get a Chick-fil-A for his wife and didn’t have EPA employees run personal errands? I think he deserved all the attacks for his greed, gross negligence and abuse of power. All that money he spent were our tax dollars.
Joe Jones, New Port Richey