Plastic pollution must be curbed; The “service for others” continues

Missed opportunity to reduce plastic pollution

In an unfortunate turn of events, on June 30 — the last day of the Delaware General Assembly session — the House did not schedule a vote on Senate Bill 134. SB 134 would have been a landmark statewide bill banning styrofoam food containers and reducing plastic straws, coffee stirrers and food picks. Delawares are disappointed the bill was not added to the House agenda after winning broad support and passing the Senate in mid-June. Unfortunately, Delaware will not join neighboring states of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC, which have adopted policies to reduce the use of expanded polystyrene.

Why is this important? Each year, approximately 33 billion pounds of plastic enters the marine environment. That’s roughly equivalent to two garbage trucks full of plastic being dumped into the oceans every minute. As summer draws more and more people to Delaware’s rivers, bays and coastline, they are sure to encounter plastic debris in the waterways and along the beaches. To tackle the plastic pollution crisis, we must first reduce it at the source through effective legislative policy. Thank you, say Senator Trey Paradee, for recognizing the urgent need for action and for introducing SB 134. Also, thank you to all of the senators who co-sponsored the bill and voted to ensure a healthier Delaware and cleaner to their constituents. We are now counting on House Representatives in 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 taking advantage of the air conditioning lately or maybe just sitting by the pool? Over the past week, public safety professionals have battled the heat and a number of complex incidents. Aetna Hose and Ladder Company crews responded to more than 280 EMS and fires since Sunda on July 17, including runs inside and outside the district). Some of these responses have included rescues, cardiac arrests, accidents and multiple fires. Two of those fires involved hazardous materials and destroyed more than $50,000 worth of equipment from Aetna alone. And we don’t do it alone. New Castle County has a strong mutual aid system, but sometimes even that can be stressed. Just like your favorite local restaurant, we also have staffing issues. Aetna is a combined department made up of volunteers, career members, part-timers and residents – all are needed to fulfill our mission. We are always accepting applications from part-time volunteers and certified paramedics and you can find out more at aetnahhl.org. We also need donations to help us continue our mission. Several options are available on our website. Whether you live in Newark or Claymont, I encourage you to visit your local fire station and learn more about how they protect your community. I guarantee you ± you will find some of the most passionate and dedicated people who are only supported by a small percentage of your tax dollars. When you see an ambulance crew, paramedics, police officer or fire department at your convenience store or in town, say thank you. It goes far. Regardless of weather, staff or funding challenges, Aetna will continue to provide “Service for Others”.

— AJ Schall Jr., Chief, Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder Company, Newark