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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Speak up on ocean pollution, climate

  • Author: Karen Nguyen
    | Opinion
  • Updated: December 2, 2019
  • Published December 2, 2019

I was born on St. Lawrence Island. In my 64 years of life in Alaska, I have never witnessed the drastic changes in climate as seen on my island this past summer. Scientists says Alaska is warming faster than any other state in the Union. I am a witness to this fact and Sen. Murkowski must listen to and acknowledge what we are noticing.

Summer 2019 has been marked as a summer to remember, filled with numerous and devastating wildfires, affecting all Alaskans’ health from the compromised smoke-filled air. On St. Lawrence Island, marine birds and sea mammals are dying off by the thousands because food sources are declining.

Further, climate warming is exacerbating the health effects of contaminants such as persistent organic pollutants and industrial chemicals that are being transported into the Arctic on atmospheric and oceanic currents. We, the people of the Arctic, are the most polluted with these pollutants. New studies show that the Arctic Ocean contains more plastic waste than any other ocean and yet oil and gas exploration and extraction is increasing. These are the same industries that are producing plastics.

We are at a climate emergency. I urge Sen. Lisa Murkowski to speak up and invite us to give testimony and bring us to the table to find solutions. The time is now. I urge everyone to contact your representatives today!

—Karen Nguyen


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