Thanks for your articles on the South Carolina Aquarium’s Citizen Science initiatives.

I regularly participate in area litter sweeps on beaches and boat launches using the aquarium’s Litter Free Digital Journal.

When sweep results are totaled, participants are always astounded by the number of cigarette butts found so close to the water.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, cigarette filters are the most common form of litter collected worldwide in litter sweeps. More than 60 million cigarette butts have been collected on beaches and along waterways since 1986.

Beachgoers may not realize cigarette butts wash out to sea, and seabirds, sea turtles and fish mistake them for food.

These filters fill the digestive tracts of marine animals, making them unable to digest real food. Worse, when cigarette filters break down, they are still around, but in a different form.

Cigarette butts contain more than 165 chemicals, most of them toxic and deadly to marine life.

These toxins leach into

the sand, the water and the bodies of anything that swallows them. Every filter matters.

A San Diego State University study showed a single cigarette butt in a liter of water could kill half of the fish swimming in it. Our planet is a closed system. Nothing is really “thrown away” because there is no “away.”

Cigarette butts are a toxic pollutant and with us forever. Citizen science teaches us that every piece of litter counts, and laboratory science tells us why.


Anchor Watch Drive

Wadmalaw Island

Santee Cooper

My thanks to state House and Senate members who voted overwhelmingly to pursue a sale of troubled state-owned utility Santee Cooper to protect ratepayers from rate hikes needed to pay off its huge debt.

There is no doubt it’s the right thing to do. Maintaining the status quo at this utility, whose top management decided to take on billions in debt in connection with a bankrupt nuclear contractor, is not an option.

Nonbinding offers received earlier this year showed a strong market for Santee Cooper. Some offers included the full estimated value, paying off its debt and ensuring lower rates.

Beyond requiring assumption of debt and reasonable rates, the Legislature set additional common-sense criteria for binding bids such as protections for rank-and-file workers and their pensions and the preservation of the lake system.

With interest on Santee Cooper’s debt mounting at $1 million per day, it’s important for ratepayers that the sale move forward as quickly as possible. Employees should not be left in limbo.


Heston Point Drive

Pawleys Island

Keep Clamagore

I read the June 7 Post and Courier article concerning the Clamagore.

I am sure there is a way to preserve this ship. In Yokosuka, Japan, the museum battleship Mikasa built in the 1880s is still looking good.

Granted, Japan’s economy is strong, but it was not always, particularly after WWII.

Alabama has the ex-Navy submarine Drum completely out of the water, which cuts down on rust.

In Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry built an addition to exhibit a U-505 German submarine.

I toured the WWI battleship Texas in Houston and it still looked good. I believe it was in a cofferdam, which also helps preserve it.

If nothing else, take the Clamagore out of the water, which will cut down on saltwater damage.


Foxborough Road

Goose Creek

Thirsty Google

It comes as no surprise that Google would rather pump an additional 1 million “free” gallons of water from our aquifer than to pay for metered water from a pipeline.

More importantly, I expect Google assumed its request for more water from the aquifer would have been approved forthwith because of the way local governments have kowtowed to it since the company’s first mention of building a data center in the Lowcountry.

While there is an obvious environmental concern associated with giving Google more access to our aquifer, I am opposed to approving its request for two other reasons: economic and national defense.

From an economic perspective, Google is one of the biggest and richest companies in the world, and much of that wealth is the result of Google collecting and selling our personal information without express approval.

I’m sure Google can afford to pay market rates for its water.

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.

Also, Google is refusing to develop artificial intelligence solutions for the Department of Defense while at the same time providing the same service to Chinese companies that share their technology with the Chinese military.


Salty Tide Cove

Mount Pleasant

Born and unborn

In a May 21 Post and Courier column, R. Josiah Magnuson displayed a disappointing view of childbirth and abortion. His view is that all fetuses are dear and should not be aborted.

Most people agree that unborn babies deserve a chance at life. The only problem is that, once born, they aren’t given a chance of having a good life because their mothers are not in a position to provide for them.

I would suggest Mr. Magnuson campaign to help mothers who need help with health care for themselves and their children, housing, education, food and better wages.


Flowering Oak Way

Mount Pleasant

New kind of war

It was fitting that our president went to Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and our nation’s sacrifice for the rebirth of France.

So why did America stand strong and help stop the killing of innocent people we didn’t even know?

I have a friend whose French grandparents, Jews, were alive during WWII. They could have been killed and she would not be here today. Her grandparents, who still live in France, love America.

I believe Americans saw value in my friend’s life even before she was born because something deep within us cried out to right the injustice of killing millions of innocent people.

Today, we have a different kind of war. In the name of pro-choice and a person’s right to choose, unborn babies are aborted and millions of lives are lost.

As we celebrate the liberation of the French people, may the courts finally listen to the heartbeats of millions who will surely die in the future if we, the living, don’t stand up for them and give them a right to be heard.


Miles Road