Where Are The Bags?

I have spent at least a thousand hours in the ocean and have not seen a plastic shopping bag yet (“Plague of the Urban Tumbleweeds,” Cover Story, September 11). I bring my swimmer’s goggles when the swell is small and poke around on the bottom when there is no surf. I see sand, rocks, normal ocean fauna. My diving friends have never reported ocean rocks covered with grocery bags in La Jolla or any other place.

Bill Manson, there may be good reasons why we should take care where we dispose of our bags, or maybe we should not use them. Science used to be about facts and real studies. Please don’t blemish it with false claims to make a statement about something you don’t like. I want to see photos of these bags in the ocean. I’ve seen film of seals caught up in fishing tackle and nets but no bags. If the rocks were covered with shopping bags, we would have certainly seen film of it by now.

Richard Baker
via email

Bill Manson replies: Mr. Baker should watch the river mouths of the county and the many outfalls scattered around San Diego Bay. As for La Jolla, according to Captain Moore (featured in the story), plastic bags certainly get caught in the kelp but don’t necessarily stay because of high-energy wave action. After being read the letter, Moore says, “It’s nice that [Mr. Baker] has had a good experience and hasn’t had his dive ruined by trash, but that’s not the experience of many other people.” For general evidence, he suggests checking his website, algalita.com (look at the “trashed photo gallery”).

And by the way, Moore reports from his latest survey (carried out early this year in the Central North Pacific) that the ratio of broken, degraded plastic pieces, so easily mistaken by fish for surface zooplankton, is soaring. He had previously measured degraded plastic pieces as outweighing plankton by 6 to 1. Now, he says, they outweigh plankton by 46 to 1.

Responsible

Re “Gray, Gray, Gray” (Letters).

This is in response again to Dale Anne Thompson, who on September 17 responded to my letter dated September 11, which is a response to hers dated August 7, regarding Lawrence Welk. You stated that I must be ashamed of Lawrence Welk, since I did not put my name at the end of my letter. This is in fact not true. I do not put my name on any of my submissions due to the fact that I do not want my abusive husband to know that I am still in the area, and I have to be careful. I do, however, accept your apology that you gave last week. Thank you.

Name Withheld by Request
via email

The Ultimate Promo

In regard to the article “Seasons Go” (Movie Review, September 4), by Duncan Shepherd. Without hesitation and question, I proceeded to view The Dark Knight on three separate occasions. Be aware that these three occasions were within no more than a two-week period. Shepherd firmly states how the movie would not have done so well without Heath Ledger’s “prerelease death.”

Did Shepherd even see the eminent spectacle that is Batman Begins? Even if the popularity didn’t soar until it hit DVD. The Hulk and Iron Man combined (total of $451 million) did not gross even close to what The Dark Knight did alone ($504 million — missed it by $53 million — ouch!). Enough said. Ledger, Bale, and Eckhart all reigned supreme on the big screen. I think I will go see it for my fourth time now, AMC Fashion Valley — 8:30 p.m. — who’s with me?

Stephen Steigler
SDSU Student
Mission Beach

Got History?

Just a note to thank you for including “Unforgettable: Long-Ago San Diego” in the Reader. It’s truly great! To have something, tiny as it is, to remind every out-of-state implant that’s moved here of what this place was like before the pace of living in San Diego County became hysterically out of control!

Kudos to Jeff Smith. Please keep doing your research and writing. And, yes, I am a California native and moved to North County in 1955.

Jens Morrison
San Marcos

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