04 Oct

Plastic Water

Scientists say that plastic now outweighs plankton 6 to 1 in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The lagoon of Midway Atoll is the perfect laboratory to witness all sizes of plastic slowly breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces.  A variety of plastic washes up on the beaches daily, but not before some local fish make a meal of it.

Video by: Jan Vozenilek.  Voiceover: Victoria Sloan Jordan.

Music by Christen Lien

3 thoughts on “Plastic Water

  1. Thank you for raising awareness. I too participate in that important step, as evidenced by the op-ed piece I wrote below… that I can’t seem to get published! I have found myself trying to focus on solutions. What can be done to ameliorate this ecocide? I have committed to keeping my small island plastic free but it is a daily chore; with every high tide there is another round of bending over and picking up the detritus of a suicidal culture. Yesterday I broke down weeping upon discovering thousands more fragments on Little Trial Island. Today I cleaned it up. On the larger scale I just don’t know where to begin…

    “Even the shortest stroll on any one of Victoria’s beaches will reveal that British Columbia’s beauty and cleanliness is being diminished by the astonishing amount of plastic garbage that ends up in the oceans every year. Almost 90% of marine litter is plastic; a product that scientists say takes 400 to 1,000 years to break down. This means that almost every piece of plastic ever made still exists in one form or another.

    I could bombard you with frightening facts about how the chemicals added to plastics are carcinogenic and disrupt the endocrine system, or how 10’s of thousands of seabirds get tangled in plastic debris and at least 100,000 seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins and sea turtles have suffered the same fate. I could mention the Great Garbage Patch, a region in the North Pacific larger than our province where there are 100s of thousands of plastic fragments per square kilometer, or how 500 billion plastic bags are manufactured each year, but these numbers are so vast they boggle the imagination and seems to create a form of paralysis in people.

    The best way to illustrate the magnitude of the problem and to understand how it affects all of us is to go for a walk on the beach and to closely observe what lays tangled beneath your feet. The larger pieces stand out but the closer you look the more tiny particles you see. These are consumed by organisms and make their way up the food chain.

    In the last 5 years I have picked up hundreds of garbage bags of plastics and styrofoams from Victoria area beaches. Certain beaches collect more debris than others. Whiffen Spit in Sooke and Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay are particularly effective collection beaches and in a way they represent opportunities. The ocean is regurgitating and returning to us our waste so that we can deal with it. By focusing on these collection beaches we can make a significant contribution to ameliorating the problem.

    But whose responsibility is it? Neither the federal, provincial or municipal governments take responsibility, while the vast majority of individuals blithely walk right over the trash. We are becoming conditioned to accepting plastics as a natural fixture of flotsam and jetsam.

    My motivation is personal. In particular I care about the effects plastics have on animals, but it was pointed out to me that I am contributing to the social capital, making the beaches better for everyone. Mostly it is a lonely experience and though there is some satisfaction generated, to return a few months later and find the beach soiled once again is quite demoralizing. In short, I can’t do it all myself and I need your help. You can contribute by using less plastic, ensuring any plastic you do use is recycled, and by picking up any plastics you see that have escaped the waste stream.

    Alexander Pope said, “Do good by stealth, and blush to call it fame.” I embrace this perspective but there comes a time when a warning cry has to be shouted from the rooftops. I’m shouting now. For our children’s sake we have to end the environmental vandalism our culture has embraced and to get on with becoming Earth’s stewards, the most important mission humankind has ever undertaken. It starts with you. It starts today. Go to any beach on the South Island and begin to lead by example. We can’t afford to wait. Do it now.

    Mike Robinson
    Trial Island Lightstation
    Victoria BC

  2. It is mind baffling, that humans have revolved this way. I never really thought that there was this much plastic in our oceans. I want to help and do my part. I admire what Chris Jordan has done I have shown lots of his work to family and friends. I like watching their reaction towards the problems that are sliding right out from under our noses. How are we going to continue living like we are? How can we live in a world full of garbage? I also don’t understand why the government isn’t doing anything about it, just letting it slide until they truly have to fix the problem. I think Chris is talking about how we as humans are ignoring the large numbers that are put in front of us. Simply shrugging it off our shoulders for someone else to deal with, its mind numbing if you really think about it.
    The plastic water video blew my mind. This is going on in our world and it seems as nobody cares it is driving me crazy thinking about it. Like the massive waste just thrown into our oceans and hurting millions of animals for our laziness! And it is not just the garbage that is hurting our world it is us as humans using more of our natural resources than we really need to are throwing off the natural cycle of the world. If humans want to continue living we HAVE to change our ways now not later. When it is too late.

    Chris Jordan I heard about your work in my high school class English B 10 we have been able to learn things that never even struck our minds. We have watched many of your videos and looked at almost all your pictures. Your words have stained my brain and I myself really want to pull our world together. Thank you

  3. Pingback: Journey to Midway « Jaz Design

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