To the editor:
I feel strongly about voting Yes to update the bottle bill on Question 2. I spent my summer working in over 30 different salt marshes throughout Massachusetts as part of my thesis research on green crabs. Each of these supposedly “pristine” sites was littered with plastic bottles lacking the five-cent deposit.
The degradation of these plastic bottles has negative impacts on coastal ecosystems. The plastics are consumed by crustaceans and are responsible for the reduction of metabolic rates and mortality. Coastal ecosystems are delicate habitats and disruptions to their natural processes can have cascading implications for the entire ecosystem.
We need to protect these habitats because they provide invaluable services to society, such as acting as a buffer from increasing storms and hosting shellfisheries and other commercially viable industries. Climate change is already threatening coastal communities and we need to save our last defense, the coastal habitats.
One way that we can protect these habitats is by reducing the amount of litter that ends up in them. By voting Yes on Question 2, the number of plastic bottles that end up in our waterways will be dramatically reduced because there will be an incentive for community members to pick up the bottles and take them to redemption centers.
Additionally, the five-cent deposit that is not collected will go directly to an environmental fund that will help Massachusetts towns deal with environmental issues, such as conservation work that is necessary if we want to have an Earth that is inhabitable for future generations.
Kate Hanrahan, 25, has a BS in Environmental Science from UConn 2012 and an MS in Environmental Science from Trinity College of Dublin 2014.