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Plastics: education and persuasion not bans

I’d like to offer another perspective on plastic—a constructive one—to contrast with that of Eric Schiller in the December edition. If I wanted to thoroughly explain all the ways the inventors and entrepreneurs and businessmen who have brought us plastic have improved our lives I would need a collection of books to do so.

From the plastics that make up much of the computer I am typing this letter on, to the wireless router in another room, the shielding on the cable that connects my house to the world wide web, my ability to exchange ideas with the whole world would be impossible without plastics.

Plastics are widely used in medicine.

Our food supply is greatly enhanced through the use of plastics.

It is easy to take for granted the hundred or thousand plastic items all around my house that improve my life every day.

A call for the elimination of plastic bottles through political means is a move towards dictatorship. When I, a living, thinking, reasoning and relatively free human being, have decided to buy water in a safe, portable and inexpensive plastic bottle, by what right does anyone else forbid me to do so? Who is to decide if the bottle is needed if not the individual buying it?

If you wish to deal with me as a human being, use reason, education and persuasion to show me a way that I can see is better for my life and don’t threaten me with government-enforced bans.

David McGruer
Nelson Street

A tale of two embassies

In the 1980s, both Thailand and Uganda opened embassies in existing houses in Ottawa, the former on Island Park Drive, the latter on Wilbrod Street in Sandy Hill. Some thirty years later, both countries applied to the City of Ottawa to demolish their embassies and replace them with low-rise purpose-built office buildings. In both cases, local residents opposed the demolition and the construction of an office building in a residential area. Last year, the city granted Uganda its request (Action Sandy Hill has since appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) but recently the Planning Committee of Council has denied Thailand’s request, using some of the same arguments that ASH had used. While City planners argue that each case is unique, what city residents see is the seemingly-arbitrary nature of city planning. If councillors can reach opposite conclusions on two almost identical issues less than one year apart, what confidence can we have in their stewardship of our city?

François Bregha
Russell Avenue