Ballpoints harm environment

Updated: 2014-09-24 08:04

(China Daily)

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Comment on "Think of the environment before buying a new phone" (China Daily, Sept 12)

We could also say: "Think of the environment before buying a new ballpoint pen." Considering that more than 60 percent of the ballpoint pens used in the world today are made in China, their effect on the environment can no longer be overlooked.

All the disposable pens and refills, whose metal points contain toxic materials like lead, end up in landfills, waterways and in other places with the toxic contents ultimately trickling down to the soil and the groundwater table.

Unfortunately there is nobody in China to take stock of this problem. The United States and the European Union have recognized this problem and have set strict limits on how much lead a pen tip can contain.

New technologies are available to produce a writing point with plastic, completely ruling out the use of lead and other heavy metals. But only customers can decide if they want to buy a pen that is good or bad for the environment.

WATLER T. EGLIN, via mail