Letters to the editor September 10 2019

TRASHY: Reader Martin Schlaeger, of Eleebana, says the container deposit refund scheme in NSW has thinned out litter pollutants but remaining litter needs attention.
TRASHY: Reader Martin Schlaeger, of Eleebana, says the container deposit refund scheme in NSW has thinned out litter pollutants but remaining litter needs attention.

THANKS to the container deposit scheme, which was finally introduced in NSW, defying a massive beverage-industry blockage campaign, there is significantly less drink-container litter on our beautiful Lake Macquarie shores. However, there is lots more that needs to be addressed. First and foremost, the McDonald soft drink cups and straws stand out as prominent polluters, followed by coffee cups and take-away containers, not to forget cigarette packaging and cigarette butts.

When a deposit scheme generates changes, then we have to target the remaining pollutants to save our environment for future generations by introducing refundable deposits or clean-up taxes.

Attacks on the hip pockets seem to convince most people. I covered about 300 metres along the foreshore next to the boardwalk at low tide and collected two bags of rubbish, most annoyingly a number of plastic bags with dog poo, tossed into the lake by careless dog owners.

Martin Schlaeger, Eleebana

CHASE BULLIES, NOT VICTIMS

IT’S HARD to believe that politics has reached such a low.  After the chaos of the last couple of weeks in Canberra, the “au pair affair” is still very much in the headlines, as well as the resignation of Liberal MP Julia Banks due to alleged bullying tactics by colleagues during the leadership spill.

She was later told by fellow MP, Craig Kelly that she needed to “roll with the punches”. Now to add to the Coalition’s woes, South Australian Liberal Senator Lucy Gichuhi says she will name the bullies under parliamentary privilege. The Labor Party is not immune either, as it’s fairly evident to me that Emma Husar has also been bullied. She plans to resign from Parliament.

Kelly O’Dwyer called out the bullying on 7.30 (3/9) when interviewed by Leigh Sales, but failed to mention how Julia Gillard was bullied as PM.  Then we had none other than the pompous, self-opinionated shock jock Alan Jones state on Q&A that “they should take a teaspoon of cement and toughen up”.

May I suggest, Mr Jones, that yourself, Captain Abbott and his handful of lieutenants heed the advice of Malcolm Turnbull’s little grandson, Jack, and “go away.

Beverly Page, Adamstown Heights

DROUGHTS CAME BEFORE

I TAKE issue with some of the comments of John Van Der Kallen ("Burying their heads as it all turns to dust", Opinion 31/8).  Eastern Australia is not suffering from the worst drought in living memory and without precedent for 400 years. The current drought, as terrible as it is, was matched by a very similar drought in 1965.  

Regular drought occurs in this land of droughts and flooding rains. The worst drought recorded was believed to be the Federation drought. Although drought had been a feature over much of Australia through the 1890s, it was in 1902 that drought became truly disastrous.  January and February were wet over Tasmania, but very dry further north. March continued the trend of complete rainfall failure in NSW and Queensland.

Most areas of those two states had their lowest rainfall for the November to March period on record, and April was even worse,  the driest month of the 20th century.  

Sheep and cattle were already starving. The result was that sheep died in numbers that have never been equalled before or since with half the sheep population perishing.  Although in WA the rainy season began on time in May, the dry weather continued without a break in the eastern states.

Then, despite June being quite wet in VIC, Tas and even SA, there were severe frosts and drought in NSW and Qld. 

Sound familiar?

I believe any calls for millions to be spent on a National Adaption Plan or similar to fight climate change should be met with a simple question: what is the evidence that humans can change the weather in any way, shape or form?

Peter Devey, Merewether

NO NEED TO BE EVENTFUL 

LATE last month Supermoto invaded the East End (‘German all Class in Supermoto double’, Herald 3/9), with significant disruption and cost to ratepayers.

I believe this event attracted approximately 500 fans on the Saturday and maybe 600 fans on the Sunday. The cost to the community was damage to foreshore park, employment of police (about 10) and noise and petrol fumes floating across the East End. My understanding is that local businesses did not benefit at all from this event.

By comparison, the Hunter and Newcastle Jazz Club held the 31st Annual Jazz Festival at Wests Leagues the weekend before, with volunteers running an event that attracted 700 jazz fans from Sydney, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and New Zealand at no cost to Newcastle ratepayers, and with accommodation booked out at Wests and with other local venues from pubs to Stockton caravan park benefiting .

I think it’s about time the council closed down its event culture and concentrated on roads, rubbish , parks and cultural issues such as libraries and the art gallery.

John Davies, Newcastle East

PAST MAY OFFER AN IDEA

THE PFAS contamination appears to be still leaking onto private properties from the RAAF base at Williamtown. I understand a similar problem existed at the ex-BHP plant at Mayfield and was addressed by digging a huge trench around the border and filling it with concrete to stop contaminants leaching into the Hunter River.

So, l suppose it’s a question of what's more important, a healthy river or healthy residents? Because there seems to be a solution, but no-one wants to pay. Had the responsibility been a corporate problem, l am sure government would be quick to resolve the issue.

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

A TRULY FAITHFUL MARRIAGE

IN RESPONSE to Colin Geatches' comments in the Herald (Short Takes 6/9), freedom of speech is with us and I see no need to try and defend certain representatives of the Catholic hierarchy from his criticism.

However, I have been driving my wife to the local Catholic church and picking her up after Mass for over 50 years now and I believe her faith has contributed to the strength of our relationship.

I regard the decision of the Vatican not to allow priests to marry as quite absurd, and believe is partly responsible for the enormous problems the church is experiencing.

As for Mr Geatches suggesting that he won't be setting foot in a church again, I suppose that won't really have much impact on the places of worship around Mayfield, unless of course he can carry a hymn with a pleasant baritone or maybe tenor voice.

David Stuart, Merewether

SHARE YOUR OPINION

Email letters@theherald.com.au or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.

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