Letters to the Editor
Volume VI Number 34
August 27-September 2, 1998
Neon-Green Lawns = Neon-Green Bay
Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:
Recently my fiancee and I took a relaxing walk through the streets of our beautiful historic Annapolis neighborhood. We admired the well-decorated yards with aromatic flowers and flowering trees. Lavender, various roses, crabapple trees, plum trees, apple trees, night-blooming jasmine, dogwood trees, coneflowers, black-eyed susans, magnolia trees, just to name a few, tickled our noses and pleased our eyes. This is one of the reasons we located to the area: the sense of community pride shown by the presentation of well-groomed yards.
Then we were dumbfounded by the sight of little yellow, green and white flags placed there warning of the poisons and fertilizers that would harm small children or pets who frolicked in grasses that had been sprayed.
The courtesy of a warning to the children and family pets seemed polite although horribly incomplete. It failed to warn of what these chemicals would do to the health of the Chesapeake Bay when the next rain would wash them away.
The little warning flags failed to say that these same poisons and fertilizers, far too much of which had been sprayed to be absorbed by the amount of soil in this small parcel of land, would cloud the waters of the Bay, preventing sunlight from reaching the water grasses that provide oxygen to the water and homes for fish, turtles and other Bay animals critical to the health of the natural food chain.
They failed to note that the enrichment of the silt in the Bay is the main reason that we have blooms of toxic microorganisms like Pfisteria piscicida, which prevent us from enjoying the harvest of the Bay and cause illness in fishermen, swimmers and boaters.
These innocuous little flags failed to warn of the long-term disaster to which these holders of small spots of land had doomed the grand Chesapeake Bay in the name of short-term weedlessness and neon green grass.
Then we were pleased to see a house whose yard had a wonderful mix of ground coverings that were also being enjoyed by rabbits, birds and house pets. We did not see any little flags in this yard.
When will our neighbors wake up out of their selfish state, we wondered. Will it take large flags at the waters edge which warn them and their children NOT TO wade, swim, sail, water-ski or take fish from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay? We hope not. But we continue to see numerous smaller flags that still do not carry these warnings.
Yes, we see the future pleas of chemical spraying companies saying that this is their job and, yes, they too have families to support. However, there are many less toxic approaches to greener, weedless lawns that these people could perform while actually touting their Bay-friendly benefits.
We would hate to see legislation be the only solution to the protection of our treasured Chesapeake Bay. But just take a walk one evening through the streets of your waterfront town after the chemical trucks have delivered their load and you will wonder, as we did, if this isn't the inevitable next step.
-Evan Etter and Kelly Smith, Annapolis
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