Editorial Protecting Long Island Sound takes all of us
The issue: Long Island Sound, 110 miles from tip to tip, is one of Connecticut’s most valuable natural resources with economic, recreational and environmental benefits. The coast is a mixture of state and private beaches and hard-working cities such as New London, New Haven, Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford. But inland Connecticut is also linked to the Sound through the rivers that feed the waters — the Housatonic through Western Connecticut, Saugatuck, Pequonnock and Quinnipiac, to name a few.
The Sound is estimated to contribute $17 billion to $37 billion to the regional economy. But for too long the health of the Sound was taken for granted and pollutants from industry and sewage plants were disrupting the ecosystem.
Conditions have been slowly and steadily improving, but more work is required.
What we wrote: “The vitality of Long Island Sound is an asset that is important not only to those communities that border it, but also to every community in Connecticut. The million acres of open and coastal water in this tidal estuary of the Atlantic provide habitat for an endless variety of birds and sea life, and recreational opportunity for all ... What continues to be disturbing, even in this most recent study, is that it is we who are generally the source of the Sound’s problems. ... We need to pay close attention to how we treat the Sound and ask our legislators to do the same thing.”
— Editorial, June 12, 2015
“We can all be guardians of Long Island Sound by contributing to cleaning up the shores, avoiding nitrogen-rich lawn fertilizers, ensuring septic systems function correctly and remembering the mantra, ‘If it goes in the ground, it goes in the Sound.’ For the millions of lives beneath the surface, this is the true health care debate.”
— Editorial, July 26, 2017
“And in just recent days, there have been reports — for the third consecutive summer — of humpback whales feeding in the Sound. ... But vigilance has to be kept at high alert.”
— Editorial, Aug. 4, 2017
“Long Island Sound is a microcosm of the planet. The work that began nearly 40 years ago to protect the Sound is showing benefit, but plenty of work is on the horizon.”
— Editorial, Sept. 26, 2018
What’s the latest: Connecticut learned this week it will receive $2 million in federal funds that, with matching grants, will enable 24 projects to improve resiliency and sustainability of coastal and watershed habitats. We are pleased one of the projects will be an investigation of the effect of microplastics — barely visible pieces of plastic that pollute the environment — on water, sediment and oysters.
What should happen next: One of the many sources of microplastics is detergent for washing clothes. Federal grants have been threatened in the past, and regulations can be loosened. We all play a role in maintaining the health of streams, rivers and our Sound. We don’t have to be in, or near the Sound to keep it clean. We can contribute by choosing the right products at the supermarket.