Pacific Plastic Ocean

May 14, 2008 at 11:35 pm 5 comments

Sample Taken in the Pacific Ocean Garbage IslandOur world is plastic-our food comes packaged in it, most of our stuff is made of it and now our environment is becoming composed of it. As demonstrated in Garbage Island, a documentary film on, plastic is now a major component of our oceans. In the documentary, Thomas, Jake, and Meredith spend three weeks at sea traveling to, and collecting samples at, the giant Garbage Island in the Pacific Ocean. What is striking is that instead of great piles of plastic bags and bottles, the crew find that the plastic has mostly broken down into tiny little pieces that are ingested into the food system up and down the food chain.

Thomas, in Garbage Island:

I came out here expecting to see, like, a trash dump- pieces in the water that you could pull out, but instead what I got was an even ruder awakening. Looking out right now you don’t see the garbage; sometimes you see shit float by; most of the time you don’t, you just see water; but what’s in that water is a fucking thousand times worst than a coke bottle, because what it is, is every part of a coke bottle busted down into a little digestible morsel.

These little plastic morsels act as sponges and sop up Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in our environment, making them extra harmful. POPs are chemicals, like DDT and agricultural pesticides, that have seeped into our environment and cause adverse health effects.

An extra piece of footage appending the film is an interview with Vom Saal at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. He discusses the health affects of our new plastic world, namely the affects of Bisphenol A, a synthetic compound produced for use in plastics:

If you look at the incidence of diabetes and the production of Bisphenol A, they parallel each other identically.

Not only does plastic corollate with the diabetes epidemic, but also with obesity, infertility, breast cancer and many other diseases endemic in modern society. Watch the film and say no to plastic whenever you can. Do your veggies really need that extra plastic bag for the trip home from the grocery store? Re-use glass jars for drinking, or get a re-fillable water bottle that won’t seep dangerous chemicals into your beverage. We all need to do our part to keep ourselves and the world healthy.


Entry filed under: Sustainability. Tags: , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jeremy  |  May 15, 2008 at 1:03 am

    That’s interesting. I was wondering why there were no photos of the trash islands, and that would be why. It’s being slowly liquified.

  • 2. polythenepam  |  May 17, 2008 at 4:53 am

    Plastic — bah — I have been waging war on the filthy stuff for over a year now and I don’t mean just refusing carrier bags. One use plastic products are a dirty, expensive, possibly carcinogenic, profligate use of the worlds resources resulting in an overwhelming tide of permanent, non biodegradable debris. I hate them…so last year decided I would boycott it all – plastic packaging, bags, bottles and stupid free coat hangers that snap before you get home. Each month I veto a plastic/plastic packed product and substitute a better packaged, more sustainable, biodegradable sometimes, as needs must, home made options.

  • 3. amandamaria  |  May 17, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve been trying to get away from it, too. I store all leftovers in glass canning jars! I don’t put veggies in plastic bags in the produce section of the grocery store and carry a fairly big bag instead of a little purse so if I purchase something, I’m ready to pass on the bag (paper or plastic). Something about drinking and eating on plastic always freaked me out a little and now we’re seeing why.

    And, like you said, it’s not just about food. Someone told me a funny anecdote about purchasing a trash can. At the checkout, they put the trash can in a plastic bag. When they got home, they put the plastic bag in the trash can. How much sense does that make? Or when you buy laundry soap and the container itself has a handle, why do they always try to put it in a plastic bag?

    Thanks for the comments!

  • 4. Lives  |  June 19, 2008 at 5:49 am

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Lives!

  • 5. colleen  |  June 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    fuckin rock star. Again, we need to unite our photo journalistic talents and further the revolution. Lets start to pow-wow fo real, it’ll be like our weekly freeradio time, but we’ll just brainstorm and write.

    Thanks for keepin it real. But remember, plastic is everywhere. Your celly, laptop, car, bike, everything…. the little drink skewer thing in the pink bikini martini. It has taken over the world.

    much love,


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