We are a local newspaper. Our focus is on a 20-mile stretch of coastal southern Palm Beach County. Our mission is local. We don’t write about presidential elections, state or county elections.
    Outside of the office you might hear us voice opinions on broader topics, but you won’t see us write about issues that don’t directly impact our geographic area.
    Plastics in the ocean may seem like a global issue, but if you walk the beach like I do, you have seen the local effect of a growing global problem.
    On a recent family trip to Bolivia and Peru, I was hit hard by the scope of this issue. I had visited these countries when I was teenager (long, long ago) and although many of the socioeconomic changes I observed this summer were positive, the plastic pollution had grown to an alarming level.
    It was heartbreaking to watch glossy ibis wade through plastic refuse in open sewers in the rapidly expanding suburbs of La Paz, Bolivia. Even the flamingos along the rail line in Peru were often seen feeding with plastic bottles floating nearby.
    If attention isn’t paid to this global environmental crisis, it will soon become a human health crisis.
    And yes, I know these are developing countries in the mountains of South America. What does trash in the mountains have to do with plastic in the ocean? Plenty. When plastic is left unmanaged, gravity ultimately sends all non-biodegradable waste into the world’s vast oceans.

    That’s why the efforts by the young men at Saltwater Brewery are so important.
    A biodegradable six-pack holder seems like such a simple idea it’s no wonder manufacturers all over the world are clamoring to incorporate it into their packaging.
    I wish these entrepreneurs all the luck in the world as they get this exciting new product through the patent process and into the global market. I believe they will succeed.
    It took sharp minds to be aware of the frightening amount of plastic in the oceans and to not simply turn away, but instead to stop and think, “What can I do about it?”
    Finding a way to reduce the amount of discarded plastics in our environment is an immense, global issue. But sometimes it just takes one small, local idea to make a difference.


— Mary Kate Leming,
Editor

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