As an integral institution to the City of Chicago, DePaul University needs to use its influence to become a stronger persuasive force for the cause of public health. DePaul prides itself on its environmental sustainability, but minutes away from campus, foam cups and takeout containers litter the streets.
Styrofoam is a major public health issue, and there is absolutely no need for it in Illinois. It is time to put a stop to our overflowing toxic landfills and washed-up trash heaps along the lakeside. If we do not take immediate action, these piles will continue to increase and time will not help us. Instead, the foam will continue to degrade into microplastics, infiltrating our food, our water supply, and our wildlife.
Comprehensive legislation is possible. Chicago is currently in the process of passing a single-use plastics ban which would significantly help eliminate this problem in the city. This is a great first step, but it is beyond time to implement this at the statewide level as well. A number of states have already passed these styrofoam bans, and Illinois must quickly follow suit.
-Bria Jerome, graduate student