Mr. FW column minimizes important issue

Mr. Federal Way: Regarding your airplane noise opinion — wow, just wow! I cannot believe that someone so lacking in knowledge on this subject would write this piece. Being funny is one thing, but you’ve performed such a great disservice to your readers and citizens of Federal Way. You apparently viewed this issue as a means to do a hit piece, and you did it well. We do not need this kind of “journalism” from a paper in which many get their local information.

While living under the glide path, I was not surprised that there is an increase in flights and airplane noise (we hear constant aircraft over our heads nearly 18 hours a day now), but I was shocked to learn that those aircraft emit ultra-fine particles containing carbon dioxide, nitrogen and other chemicals that rain down on us every day. These emissions are serious and can cause respiratory illnesses, including an increase in asthma in children, cardio-vascular problems and cancers. The University of Washington is studying these emissions and what those chemicals mean for our health and diseases they may cause. If the noise isn’t enough to make people sit up and take notice, perhaps the health implications will get people’s attention.

Airplane noise is a public health issue. Increased noise was discussed in the January 2017 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. It states “that noise causes hearing loss, increase in death rates, it increases blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes and sleep deprivation” with its many repercussions.

The Port of Seattle has even bigger plans for us, and those will impact our quality of life even more. As you noted, 260 more aircraft a day will be overhead from SeaTac. They’re tripling the number of the noisy cargo planes, like the very loud middle-of-the-night aircraft take-offs. They are going to double the number of international flights, meaning larger, noisier aircraft overhead and an increase in air pollution. Last year, air traffic increased, and it will keep increasing. It’s not going to get better unless citizens take a stand and voice their concerns.

Many of us bought our homes, our biggest investment, years ago, knowing that we lived south of the airport, and we accepted some degree of noise. We had no way of knowing or guessing that this kind of growth and noise would occur and what impact it would have on our health or our home’s value.

Countless other cities — Queens, Long Island, Culver City, California, Boston, Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, Baltimore — and many others all have citizen groups standing up to their airports and the Federal Aviation Administration. In Phoenix, John McCain is demanding the FAA take notice and listen to the citizens. For more citizen’s group information you may want to view the Facebook page Quiet Skies Puget Sound, a citizen grassroots organization that’s one of the largest in the nation.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, live in a million-dollar view property or an apartment. The noise and pollutants affect all of us, and we should not be forced to live under constant air pollution and noise.

I implore you to 1) get information and at least understand the simplest of the actual facts; 2) rewrite an informed opinion piece rather than simply refer to those with concerns as “85-year-old, get-off-my-grass citizens.” That makes you look stupid and minimizes what is an actual environmental issue.

S.E. Petersen, Federal Way

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