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Readers Respond

Catonsville fifth graders take on the issue of single-use plastic bottles: a convenience at a price | READER COMMENTARY

Plastic water bottles are seen bundled up in a bag Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Editors note: Erin Ledford, a language arts teacher at Catonsville Elementary, recently tasked 5th grade students with researching the benefits and disadvantages of single-use water bottles, and writing a letter to the newspaper expressing their opinions. We’re happy to give them space to make their case.

In fact, we’d like to encourage more correspondence from our younger readers up to age 18, so here’s a question offered by the editor’s fourth grader: What has been the toughest thing about living through the pandemic for you and why?

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Please email your responses, with permission from a parent or guardian, to talkback@baltimoresun.com, with the subject line “Kid talk,” and include the following information: your guardian’s or parent’s name and phone number, your name, your age, your grade and your school. We will compile and edit submissions for potential publication later.

The case against

The other day I saw two sellers on the road. One was selling single use plastic water bottles for $2, and the other one was selling refillable water bottles for $15. The single use water bottles was way cheaper, but yet I bought the refillable one. You might ask why, well this is going to explain why. I think single use water bottles are bad. I think they are bad because only 1 out of every 6 plastic bottles is recycled! That means the rest of the bottles are sent to landfills, so, we are throwing away lots of plastic.

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— Jenna

In my opinion, I say that single use water bottles is a wrong choice. I say this because people in our country add 24 billion single bottles each year to landfills. That is just TERRIBLE!

— Eram

In a science video I watched, called: “Would Banning Plastic Bottles Help or Hurt the Planet?” It shows that plastic doesn’t completely break down but breaks down into small pieces and ends up in the ocean being eaten by fish. This explains why we shouldn’t use so many single use plastic bottles because it is hurting fish and taking up space in our oceans.

— Emma

Single use plastic water bottles may serve short term convenience, but the damage they do can be fatal. One thing to keep in mind is that plastic water bottles don’t biodegrade, meaning that it never fully breaks down completely. They only break down into smaller pieces that then can get into the mouths of aquatic animals. By 2050, scientists predict that pound for pound, all the plastic in the ocean will outweigh all the fish in the ocean.

— Dominic

I think single use plastic bottles should be banned from the world. I know because only one out of a six plastic bottles are being recycled. This makes it bad because the other five are not being recycled. Another reason is because about 24 billion plastic bottles go each year to landfills.

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— Daniel

Single use bottled water is bad. Have you ever tried sushi, fish, crab or any type of seafood, for that matter? They’re unfortunately being threatened by single use bottles. I know this because, in the video “Would Banning Plastic Bottled Help or Hurt the Planet?” it states that unrecycled bottles can get thrown into the ocean and kill sea life. That is a big problem because not only does it greatly limit food sources, it can also lead to extinction to fish species.

— D.T.

I believe that one-use water bottles are the bad choice. One reason why I believe this is because that most of the one-use water bottles a person uses don’t get recycled. This is bad for the environment because it gets into oceans, forests and native species and can kill off their populations and health. Another reason why I believe this is because most of us have perfectly clean drinkable water at home! Not to mention, you can use reusable water bottles instead of un-reusable ones made out of plastic, and it won’t pollute the environment around you.

— Grace

Single use water bottles should be BANNED. One reason I think single use water bottles should be banned is because if we keep adding so much plastic to our landfills each year then the landfills will overflow and go everywhere. Another reason is because bottled water is very expensive to produce. That is bad because if we keep using all of our money on single us water bottles than we might run out of money. Also, we could use the money for more important things like the military or hospitals.

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— Noah

I believe single use water bottles are bad. One reason is that in 2016 only a small portion of the single use water bottles were recycled! And that’s bad for the environment. Another reason is to make single use water bottles you must use up a lot of fuel. And that means that it makes a lot of pollution in the sky.

— Wesley

I believe single use plastic water bottles are a bad choice. Here’s why: Firstly, “1 out of 6 single use water bottles get recycled by Americans.” This supports my thought on why they are bad because it’s not even a quarter! Or a third! These are not good odds for recycling. Next, do you like money? I sure know I do! Well, landfills would be rich if they had a dollar for every single use plastic water bottles gets thrown into landfills because “it is believed 24 billion single use plastic water bottles get added to them each year.” Wow, Americans. A way to stay single-use-plastic-water-bottle-free is to remember this saying: “Short term convenience, long term planet destruction.

— Shawn

I am writing to you with an opinion on how plastic single use water bottles are a bad choice. Coming from a girl who weirdly loves water, I have evidence support supporting my thoughts. I read an article called “Bottled Water: The Wrong Choice,” where I found this quote: “The process of creating the plastic bottle is actually quite damaging to the environment.” Do you really want to hurt our world? I don’t! Damaging is not a positive word, it is very negative. Now continuing the hurting earth path we are on, I want the share my second point, it is about fossil fuels. I found this piece of information from a video called “Would Banning Plastic Bottles Help or Hurt the Planet?” It takes 28 million tons of oil to make the bottles each year! (Crazy!) Just imagine all that oil! Those are two reasons that support my opinion.

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— Ruby

I think that single-use plastic water bottles are bad for us. The process of creating these plastic bottles is bad for the environment, and the amount of fossil fuels we use to make them is absolutely tremendous. Also, almost everyone has clean tap water in their home, which must go through a series of tests to make sure it is clean and safe to drink. Bottled water does not have to meet those requirements. Companies might cut some of those tests to save money, or they just don’t pay attention to if their water is actually clean. You might be drinking dirty water in those single use bottles!

If you think that’s it, you’re wrong. Let me tell you another reason single-use bottles are bad. Only one out of six bottles get recycled. Guess where the other five would go. To already overflowing landfills and oceans! They aren’t ever going to break down in those landfills, and even if plastic was able to biodegrade, there would be too much waste under the bottles for it to even reach the ground! One million plastic bottles are used every minute. So basically, every six minutes, 5 million bottles go to landfills and the oceans, and only one million are recycled! This is why single-use bottles need to be stopped.

— Quinn

One case for

I think that single use plastic water bottles are a good thing. I think they are good because “they can be shipped very easily.” And that is very convenient because then people can get the water very easily. The second reason is that it will be hard to make people stop drinking from these, and people will go and use other things that are not good for the ecosystems. Also, in some places, this one-use plastic bottle is all they have to drink and how they survive because in some places people do not have clean drinking water and these bottles are kind of all that they have to drink.

— Josh


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