N.J. must address

plastic-bag issue

When we go to the grocery store, we often do not even think twice about the plastic bags we use. However, this use-once-and-throw-away item rarely ever gets recycled. These bags become an eyesore littering our environment and harm marine animals and birds. Given all the negative impacts surrounding plastic bags, New Jersey needs to start looking into ways to tackle this issue.

Putting a fee on plastic bags is a step in the right direction. However, that will not protect marine life, reduce litter or reduce our waste stream by encouraging more recycling. A fee may stop some individuals from using a plastic bag, but it does not guarantee that the bags others use will be recycled. The alternative would be biodegradable or recyclable bags, since the problem is the plastic bag getting into the environment and causing damage.

The production of plastic bags also requires both petroleum and natural gas. With soaring gas prices and the dangers of fracking, it is not worth using these resources.

In the United States, we use an estimated 100 billion plastic bags a year. These bags can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and they never decompose completely. They just become microscopic pieces of plastic. There are now massive areas in our oceans of this plastic debris. These minuscule pieces of plastic can leach toxins into the soil and groundwater, and enter our food chain if eaten. It is up to each one of us to prevent this plastic bag calamity from getting worse by supporting a ban of plastic bags that aren't completely biodegradable.

NICOLE DALLARA

Outreach Coordinator

New Jersey Sierra Club

Trenton

Tragic Mainland crash

brought us all together

Regarding the recent articles about the August 2011 crash that killed four of eight Mainland Regional High School football players in an SUV:

I watched the community this past year envelope these families with undying love and support during the most difficult journey one must face as a parent, losing a child in a horrific accident. I am not directly involved with the families, but I know them and have seen the heartache, pain and utter despair they have had to endure each day. And I have watched our community come together for these four families, and for the survivors and their families as well.

It has warmed my heart to see this considering all the rubbish going on in the world around us. In dying, these four young men have brought us all together, and they have not died in vain, but have taught us all valuable lessons about life and how precious it really is. I am proud to be part of this truly amazing community.

LESLIE DABUNDO

Northfield

Film helps explain

who Obama actually is

I recently saw the movie "2016." What a disappointment. It wasn't the 90 minutes of Barack Obama bashing that some had portrayed. Instead, it was a journey, with a destination of understanding what makes our president tick.

I had been having trouble classifying this president. He didn't quite fit the anti-capitalist, socialist ideology or the black liberation theology - not completely. It was like visiting the buffet without a plate - messy.

But this film gives the viewer that plate, or background, on which they can balance any, or all, of the above, and it fits neatly. The audience actually applauded the effort, and we left the theater satisfied.

KEN ELLIS

Ocean City

State intervention

is paying off in A.C.

As a proud Atlantic City resident, I want to say thank you to the Tourism District and the Atlantic City Alliance for telling the story of the transformation of Atlantic City from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.

Until the advent of the "DO AC" advertising campaign, we were reluctant to boast about all that is changing in Atlantic City. Now we not only boast about our region, but we encourage travelers to look to us as a resort destination.

This is a direct result of state intervention, and all of the pieces are falling into place. We have top-notch casinos, contemporary entertainment, hotels, restaurants, a light show at Boardwalk Hall, the Walk shopping district and a conveniently located airport. We also have people who live and work here who have an unmatched work ethic and are ready and willing to show off the progress being made here.

While the beauty of Atlantic City may not instantly be seen on streets such as Pacific Avenue, if you take the time to look beyond the surface, you will truly be wowed.

No matter how many times I ride in the Tourism District, I find myself stopping, staring and marveling at the progress that has been made. I say thank you to the governor of New Jersey for believing in the spirit of our people and the bright future of our fine city.

MARK PADULA

Atlantic City