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Plastic foam is harmful to Maryland's environment

A plastic foam food container floats in the Jones Falls along President Street. File photo.
A plastic foam food container floats in the Jones Falls along President Street. File photo. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

As advocates for clean water and strong communities, Blue Water Baltimore is delighted to see the passage of Baltimore City Bill 17-0117, which will eliminate the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food service packaging (“Baltimore City Council to pass new regulations, including Styrofoam ban,” March 12). We have the committed leadership of our City Council to thank for securing a healthier and cleaner future for Baltimoreans and those that visit our great city.

This measure will go a long way to reducing the threat to our local waterways. However, water connects us all and our streams don’t stop at city or county lines. The facts on foam are no different whether a food container is discarded in Baltimore City, Baltimore County or the Eastern Shore — EPS does not biodegrade. As it makes its way into our waterways, it absorbs ten times more pesticides and chemicals than other forms of plastic, increasing toxin exposure for fish and other animals. Its presence jeopardizes environmental and public health throughout Maryland.

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The path forward is clear. Baltimore has shown the power of a broad coalition of youth, community and environmental advocates to make a difference, and demonstrated the vision of our elected officials in putting sound policy over politics. We now hope our legislators in Annapolis will take note and follow their lead.

Jenn Aiosa, Baltimore

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The writer is executive director of Blue Water Baltimore.

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