Protecting the Arctic Environment

Regarding the Opinion page article "Arctic Pollution Cleanup Overdue," Feb. 8: As a scientist who has spent 12 years working in the Arctic, most recently assessing the incredible dangers of nuclear and chemical waste in the Arctic region for the Environmental Defense Fund, it is indeed heartening to see the issue finally getting some long-overdue notice.

I would be remiss if I did not correct your characterization of PCBs, which you wrote as "polyvinyl chlorides," rather than the more accurate "polychlorinated biphenyls."

Scientists researching Arctic pollution would also be remiss if we did not emphasize that diplomacy is the key to protecting the Arctic environment. The Arctic is the only marine region in the world that does not have a multinational agreement to protect its resources. The negotiation of a new and comprehensive Arctic treaty is essential to ensure that the natural benefits the Arctic region holds for the planet - in terms of climate regulation and marine resources - remain for future generations. Given t he magnitude of the problems facing the Arctic and the ignorance about them in the Western world, the Arctic must become a new and rallying ground for environmental action. Kathleen Crane, PhD Washington Consultant, Environmental Defense Fund

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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