Monday, January 9, 2012

The Problem with Plastic

The problem with plastic is that it doesn't go away. It stays and stays and stays. A plastic water bottle can take as long as 450 years to break down in a landfill (according to a nice summary by the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center). Worse, if the bottle doesn't make it to the landfill and is discarded on the street as litter, it can wind up getting washed into rivers and ultimately the ocean where it becomes a problem for marine life who mistake bottle caps, lighters and other plastic for food. Birds with a stomach full of plastic soon die.

You can check out what Captain Charles Moore, who spoke at BU last fall,  has been doing with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation to raise awareness about the problem.

You can also follow what photographer Chris Jordan has been doing on Midway Island. The above photo is from his project to document the effects of plastic on albatrosses on Midway, which is 2000 miles from other land but whose beaches are littered with plastic. He is making a film, Journey to Midway, which will be released this summer. Here's the trailer, and another trailer, quite a bit less polished. In fact, why not follow the project by subscribing to his Youtube channel.

Okay, one more: here's an incredible video of an albatross dying juxtaposed with a tern chick, set to music by Baaba Maal.

Given all this, maybe we need much tighter restrictions and fines on litter?

1 comment:

  1. I'm still learning from you, but I'm trying to achieve my goals. I certainly enjoy reading all that is posted on your blog.Keep the aarticles coming. I liked it!
    Luna Guitars Lightweight Guitar Case Dread/Grand Concert