Letter to the editor: Mary Hogan 5th-graders speak out on the environment

Students in Nora O’Leary’s 5th grade class at Mary Hogan Elementary School sent these letters to the Middlebury selectboard and the Addison Independent. These letters are part of the actions they decided to take after finishing a unit on environmental issues.
We are two fifth graders at Mary Hogan Elementary. We have been learning about finite resources, global warming and the greenhouse effect. We are very concerned about the use of plastic bags in stores, because it kills animals. If plastic bags go into a landfill, when it rains the poison from the bags may go into groundwater or rivers. If animals drink that water, they may get poisoned and die. Also if trash gets dumped into the ocean it may go into many places like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The plastic breaks down into tiny poisonous particles. Animals like sea turtles may eat the particles, thinking it’s food. Don’t poison animals! We support the Keep Middlebury Beautiful petition to ban plastic bags in Middlebury.
Isabella Vukoder and Calliope Rees
We have written this letter to tell you about how plastic is damaging our planet. Plastic materials are cheap to make and cheap to buy so many businesses are using them. There are giant patches of trash and plastic in the oceans. An example is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Also, the sea animals think that it is food and when they eat it they feel full, but they are not, and they sadly starve to death. When you don’t recycle, the plastic in the trash goes into landfills. When it rains, the plastic and water make a chemical reaction and make toxic waste that seeps into the groundwater and then into lakes and rivers. Then our drinking water becomes contaminated. This is why we think plastic bags should be banned.
Ethan Mulcahy and Brayden McKee
I am a student at Mary Hogan school. I am in 5th grade. My name is Navah Glikman. Recently, we have been learning about matter and how it is finite. We also learned about global warming, the greenhouse effect, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. When plastic gets into the ocean, it breaks down and fish or turtles think it’s food. The plastic ends up poisoning them and they die. Also little things like not recycling can mean plastic can go into landfills and the plastic leaks into groundwater. That goes into rivers and the things that drink that river water die.
Amy McAnich from Keep Middlebury Beautiful is getting people to put a ban on single use plastic bags. Fifty-five Massachusetts towns have already done this, so it is possible. I am writing this to ask for your support for the petition against plastic bags because with your support we can keep Middlebury beautiful.
Navah Glikman
I am a student at Mary Hogan and my class and I have an idea to help the environment. A lot of people use plastic bags at grocery stores … but some are not reusable. But cloth grocery bags or paper bags are reusable. I think we (“we” as the town) could go and advertise reusable bags because most of the plastic bags go to dumps and a lot of it will go to the oceans and pollute the oceans.
The plastic will dissolve, and leftover particles of the plastic will be eaten by animals and then they will sadly die. Not only does this hurt the environment, it will and can trap the animals in the plastic. The ocean will eventually create a big “pool” of garbage and this plastic can also end up on our dinner plate(s).
The Keep Middlebury Beautiful Organization has written a ban against plastic bags. We hope you support us.
P.S. The pool of the garbage is real. An example of this is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You can see it at oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/garbagepatch.html
Olivia Kearley
Hi! Our names are Spencer and Mason. We are in 5th grade and we are writing to you about how we think you should keep going on your idea on getting rid of plastic bags. We would love to help with the plastic bags. We think plastic bags have to stop. We think that plastic bags should be switched with paper bags that are reusable all over Middlebury. We can make flyers to support all over Middlebury and the store should be stocked up with more reusable bags. We can tell other people about it, like our parents. We could donate money so the stores can buy more reusable bags and make them cheaper.
We should come up with a charity for stores to buy paper and reusable bags. Paper bags should be free just like plastic bags are free for the people. Paper you can burn, unlike plastic. There should be a place somewhere in Middlebury like the dump.
When you burn plastic, it releases dioxins, which can harm humans. If you only have to give out reusable bags once, it might actually save businesses money because then they wouldn’t have to give out plastic ones every time. By now the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is as big Texas times two. And it needs to stop. It can mess up the food chain because if fish start eating this stuff then they will start to die out. Then other consumers will not get to eat because all of the other fish already died. Then the consumers will then die of hunger. Then the decomposers can not eat because the animals will have no fat then they will have to eat more dead animals to survive. Even if they aren’t sea animals. Garbage can still get around their necks or they can just plain eat it. That is why we think that we should switch to reusable and paper bags.
Spencer and Mason

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