Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Outdoor burning

Monday, April 6, 2020

Dear Editor,

Although not uniform across the country, many states and cities have bans on cigarette smoking in work places, restaurants, and other public places. Cigarette smoking is not only harmful to those who smoke but also to those around them exposed to the secondhand smoke.

Smokers still have the right to smoke, but they are asked not to disregard othersí health and infringe on nonsmokersí right to clean air. For example, if someone decided to smoke in a restaurant, the smoke and smell would not stay at that personís table. It would permeate the entire place, and everyone would be affected.

Nonsmokers might choose to leave the restaurant, because the smoke is unpleasant and, more importantly, harmful to their health.

I would like to compare this smoking issue with a similar one here in Marshall. With the weather warming up and people beginning to do yard work, some are burning leaves and sticks in their backyards.

Many of us are now staying at home to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, so taking the pets outside or working in the yard is an especially welcome activity, especially on some of these nice days with little wind. Unfortunately, this is exactly when some people decide to do their burning.

Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who lives in a part of town in which no one burns, and this doesnít seem like an issue to you. For some of us, it is a big deal.

Several people within a two-block radius of my house frequently burn, and the smell and smoke makes being outside extremely unpleasant. Essentially, this means I am driven inside even on a beautiful day.

My right to clean air is infringed. Our houses are close together like tables in a restaurant.

But I canít just get up and leave. And those with breathing issues and other health problems are affected by the smoke to an even greater degree.

The best solution would be for the city council to pass a burn ban for Marshall, as many cities have done.

Until that happens, I implore everyone to make use of the excellent weekly yard waste pickup service we have here in Marshall.

There is no need to burn your leaves and sticks. Just bag them up and leave them at the curb. Please keep the air clean for the rest of us. Thank you.

Marilyn Belwood, Marshall

Retired professor