Tossed cig butts impact environment

Regarding “Butt out of their world” (March 9, 2011): You can send the $10 and a gift card for a cup of coffee to me (for never littering) in care of this newspaper. I do not litter. I’m a non-smoker.

As I stated originally, and you quoted so succinctly, smoking is a personal choice. I support everyone’s right to personal choice 100 percent. That is not the issue. The issue is with smokers who choose to throw their cigarette butts out into the world for the rest of us to deal with.

Some basic facts: The core of most cigarette filters — the part that looks like white cotton — is actually a form of plastic called cellulose acetate. By itself, cellulose acetate is very slow to degrade in our environment. Depending on the conditions of the area in which the cigarette butt is discarded, it can take 18 months to 10 years* for a cigarette filter to decompose.

But that isn’t the worst of it. Used cigarette filters are full of toxins known as tar, and those chemicals leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms that contact them. And, most filters are discarded with bits of tobacco still attached to them as well, further polluting our environment with nicotine.

Let’s all become more aware and keep our shared environment free of litter.

Joanne Sathre, Or Valley

*Editor’s note: The Explorer was not able to confirm this degradation period.

Transit service a necessity for seniors

When The Explorer arrived today, I was shocked to read about the possibility of ending our “Coyote Run” service (“OV council may terminate transit service,” March 9, 2011).

I’m sure the “powers that be” need to make cutbacks. However, they don’t seem to realize how vital this service is to us seniors. We depend on it to go to doctors appointments and shopping. Many of us are disabled and need this service. The drivers and office staff are wonderful and dedicated people.

Please consider continuing this helpful service.

Yolanda Mancini, Oro Valley

Let’s curb the petty vitrol

Like a right-wing Energizer bunny, Mr. Cunnington just keeps on griping and griping and....

You say all of our problems are “Democrat-caused messes” (“Reader wants Democrats to grow up,” March 2, 2011). Are you serious? Your politics appear to be quite conservative, you live in the most conservative state in the Union, and it is Democrats you are upset with? Just what party has been dominating Arizona state and federal politics? Have you paid any attention to what is going on in Phoenix? Does every Democrat need to be eliminated from the political scene before you’ll be happy?

Please recall that since the 1980s, it has been Republican presidents running deficits and leaving their mess for Democrats to clean up. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have marked the first time America has gone to war without paying for it. Republicans even cut taxes while ignoring the glaring costs — totally irresponsible and hypocritical.

Listen, I’m not saying Democrats are perfect or that all Republicans are morons. I’ve been plenty unhappy with both.

But, can we attempt to curb the petty vitriol (or the silliness of calling each other 4-year-olds).  For instance, whether you agree with Sheriff Dupnik’s comments or not, most reasonable people wouldn’t call them “hate-filled, delusional and psychotic rants” of a “deranged sheriff.” He is a good, honorable man who has served this community well. Show some respect and give it a rest.


Dana Whitson, Oro Valley

Plug the leak, put a plug on your car

I really enjoyed reading James Sandefer’s column of March 9 but I have some advice to offer those who are sick and tired of being held to ransom for fuel. James talked about his professor who had built an electric car some 40 years ago, lamenting that Detroit electrics are few and far between and have a habit of disappearing.

We can’t expect much from an industry in the pocket of oil  companies, although the situation is improving. There is a solution though. Right now. You can convert any car you want to electric drive right now and you don’t have to be a professor to do it.

Far from it.

Electric cars of the basic DC brushed-motor type are far simpler than a gasoline engine alone. You can today build in your garage a car or light truck that will go 40 miles and more on a charge. You can choose all the components based on your budget for as little as $10,000.

People who have gotten sick of waiting for Detroit for the last 40 years and getting ripped off for oil from unsustainable and unstable sources are taking matters into their own hands and garages.

If you want to do more than simply pile on the paperwork for the oil companies, you can really squeeze their bottom line and learn a whole new world of electric automobiles.

There are many folks in the Tucson area who have built and are driving electrics today. Seek them out and you’ll be amazed.

Dave Hymers, Marana

Government crapola is killing us

I enjoy Jim Sandefer’s columns most of the time. Today (“Retirees can plug the oil leak,” March 9, 2011), he lost it. The oil leak issue is complex. But his solution is stupid, or as Obama would say, “stupidly” conceived.

If he really was serious and would propose a solution, he wouldn’t have gone to battery cars, which are horrifically expensive and pollutive to produce; he would instead at least have posed a solution, which is cars using alcohol made from anything that grows.

Also, if anyone really worries about the environment, they would be advocating that young couples use birth control (which is the single most-viable solution to our myriad of societal problems), fire the EPA, have their kids walk to school and get rid of those stupid buses, let only one cop write a ticket, let folks burn their own trash, etc., etc.

When will anyone realize that all the government crapola is killing us?

Lou Dudas, Oro Valley

Drill here, drill now, reader says

Mr. Sandefer is blaming the wrong people for the high prices of gasoline consumers are paying today (“Retirees can plug the oil leak,” March 9, 2011). I think his plan to purchase $1 purchases at a time will lead to higher prices.

First of all, the station operators pay for the paper the receipts are printed on. Second, the oil companies will simply pass on any additional charges back to the dealers, who in turn will pass them on to the customer.

Mr. Sandefer says he is against using fossil fuels for energy. I, for one, do not wish to drive a small, unsafe “kiddy car.”

So who is to blame? Mr. Sandefer and all the other environmentalists who have prevented the drilling of oil in our own country or allowing our oil companies to build new and more efficient refineries. Geologists have told us for years that our country has more crude oil than OPEC has at their disposal. Furthermore, this oil is on solid ground without having to drill three miles down into the Gulf of Mexico, which adds to additional costs and can lead to accidents such as last year. Solar and wind power are not yet developed to meet all our power needs. So let’s use what we have now.

I and many other Americans say, “Drill Here, Drill Now” and when started, see how fast other nations that we are now dependent on for 90 percent of our oil needs start dropping their prices.   

Henry H. J. Sheetz, Oro Valley


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