Dumb Plastic that Keeps Coming Back

Just about every plastic bottle that has ever been made still exists, according to David de Rothschild, an environmental campaigner and sailor of the Plastiki, a catamaran made of pressured plastic bottles. In crossing the Pacific Ocean de Rothschild entered the vast area filled with millions and millions of tiny microscopic fragments of plastic, stretching across a huge arc of sea. Currents bring the plastic from across the oceans to this point. The dumping ground, which contributes to the death of a million sea birds and 100,000 sea mammals every year, is very hard to see. You cannot photograph it, because the flecks are too tiny, but their presence is part of the reason for the global collapse in fish stocks which some estimate to have dropped by up to 80%. It is difficult to imagine that when we throw away a plastic bag in the bin of our kitchen, thousands of miles away fragments of that bag choke the life out of the Pacific Ocean. Ironically, these flecks are consumed by the sea animals and then end up on our kitchen tables in the fish and chips we buy. There is no away. We then find ourselves eating our own garbage. De Rothschild calls this plastic, dumb plastic. Stuff that is used to wrap up other stuff – a disease that will one day choke the life out of the oceans, unless we change.

To find out more about the Plastiki expedition visit:
There you can also read about other projects for reusing discarded plastic.

Download the entire essay here

16 Plus Ethics


772.1 KB

Download resource