Letters: Plastic pollution must be curbed; 'Service for Others' goes on

Missed opportunity to curtail plastic pollution

In an unfortunate turn of events, on June 30 — the last day of Delaware’s General Assembly session — the House failed to schedule Senate Bill 134 for a vote. SB 134 would have been a historic statewide bill banning polystyrene foam foodware containers and reducing plastic straws, coffee stirrers and food picks. Delawareans are disappointed that the bill was not added to the House agenda after it gained widespread support and passed the Senate in mid-June. Unfortunately, Delaware will not be joining neighboring states of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., that have passed policies to reduce the use of expanded polystyrene.

Why does this matter? Each year, an estimated 33 billion pounds of plastic enter the marine environment. This is roughly equivalent to two garbage trucks full of plastic being dumped into the oceans every minute. As summer draws more people to Delaware’s rivers, bays, and coastline, they are guaranteed to encounter plastic debris in waterways and along beaches. In order to tackle the plastic pollution crisis, we first need to reduce it at the source using effective legislative policy. Thank you, state Sen. Trey Paradee, for recognizing the urgent need for action and introducing SB 134. Additionally, thank you to all the senators who cosponsored the bill and voted to ensure a healthier and cleaner Delaware for their constituents. We now look to House representatives, during next year’s legislative session, to ensure that our community is protected from the growing plastic pollution crisis.

— Anna Weshner-Dunning, New Castle

'Service for Others' in Newark, Claymont

Have you been enjoying the air conditioning lately or maybe sitting by the pool? Over the last week, public safety professionals have been battling heat and a number of complex incidents. Crews from Aetna Hose and Ladder Company have responded to over 280 EMS and fire runs since Sunda, July 17 , including in-district and out-of-district runs). Some of these responses have included rescues, cardiac arrests, accidents and multiple fires. Two of these fires involved hazardous materials and destroyed more than $50,000 of equipment — from just Aetna. And we do not do this alone. New Castle County has a robust mutual aid system, but at times can even that can be stressed. Just like your favorite local restaurant we are having staffing issues as well. Aetna is a combination department made up of volunteers, career, part time and live-in members- all are needed to fulfill our mission. We continuously accept both applications for volunteers and part-time certified EMTs and you can learn more at aetnahhl.org. We are also in need of donations to help us continue our mission there are several options available on our website.Whether you live in Newark or Claymont, I encourage you to swing by your fire local station and learn more about how they protect your community. I’ll guarantee you this ± you’ll find some of the most passionate and dedicated people who are only being supported by a small percentage of your tax dollars.When you see an ambulance crew, paramedics, police officer or firefighters at your corner store or around town, say thank you. It goes a long way. Regardless of the challenges of weather, staffing, or funding, Aetna will continue to provide "Service for Others."

— A.J. Schall Jr., chief, Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder Company, Newark

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Letters: Plastic pollution must be curbed; 'Service for Others' goes on