Letters to the Editor: 03-13-19

Consider lottery system over tax increases

This past month, reading what seems like almost every day in WHT about our state and county wanting to raise this and that tax that when added up comes to a considerable cost to you and me, gives me the heebie jeebies. Especially when I read again that some lucky soul, in another state, has won a lottery worth $1.5 billion and walked away with some $800,000,000 in cash leaving some $700,000,000 on the table for the feds, the state and, more than likely, a county to ponder over what to squander it away on or whatever.

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In Hawaii’s case, such monies could help relieve our tax burdens or at least go toward our infrastructure, a new West Hawaii hospital, lord only knows where it could be spent.

But now here we sit with our heads in the sand bemoaning our fate of higher taxes while some 40-plus other states reap the benefits of a lottery system.

Here in Hawaii, churches and even Hawaii Boy Scouts can‘t run a lottery to raise funds for their charitable causes of which we all benefit. Come on gang, it’s time we caught up with the times on ways to lighten our tax burden. If not, it is only going to get worst.

Hugo von Platen Luder

Holualoa

Support plastic ban

Should we be able to cause major environmental damage just because it is convenient? Individuals purchasing bottled water seem to think so. In addition to harming our world, water bottles can cause risks to human health (BPA’s leaching into water), are a waste of money and are a drain on water and energy sources. More than 90 U.S. colleges and universities either banned or restricted the sale of plastic water bottles on campus. Encouraging the use of reusable water bottles and existing water fountains and machines that dispense water equals environmental sanity.

Despite attempts to encourage recycling, 80 percent of bottles purchased end up in landfills every year. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade nor compost into fragments that insects devour. Because most water bottles are made of petroleum-based polyethylene terephthalate (also known as PET), they break down through photodegradation into smaller pieces instead of biodegrading. This does not frequently happen in landfills since bottles are not likely to be exposed to the sun.

Ten percent (3.8 billion water bottles annually) ends up in the ocean as a result of trash being deposited in waterways by humans, wind, and heavy rains. Once exposed to sunlight, breakdown of these plastics results in toxic chemicals, including BPA and PS oligomer. These toxins are ingested by ocean animals. Who wants to dine on sushi and poke laced with tiny plastic pieces? The Hawaii Food Retailers Association attempts to instill fear in consumers saying the ban will “raise prices and limit residents’ access to a range of products.” I agree with Sen. Russell Ruderman, who co-introduced SB 522. He said, “If enough places enforce similar plastic bans, then companies will adapt their own practices and switch to more sustainable packaging materials.”

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Gary Harrold

Hilo