Plastic Pollution

Topics: Ocean, Bottle, Pacific Ocean Pages: 3 (934 words) Published: February 25, 2014
Text Collection Text 1
Topic: Plastic Pollution

Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð
Autumn Term 2013

Tough truths about plastic pollution
Paragraph 1: I'm a visual artist, and I'm also one of the co-founders of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. I've been working with plastic bags, which I cut up and sew back together as my primary material for my artwork for the last 20 years. I turn them into two- and three-dimensional pieces and sculptures and installations. Upon working with the plastic, after about the first eight years, some of my work started to fissure and break down into smaller little bits of plastic. And I thought, "Great. It's ephemeral just like us." Paragraph 2: Upon educating myself a little further about plastics, I actually realized this was a bad thing. It's a bad thing that plastic breaks down into smaller little bits, because it's always still plastic. And what we're finding is that a lot of it is in the marine environment. I then, in the last few years, learned about the Pacific garbage patch and the gyre. And my initial reaction -- and I think this is a lot of people's first reaction to learning about it -- is, "Oh my God! We've got to go out there and clean this thing up." So I actually developed a proposal to go out with a cargo ship and two decommissioned fishing trawlers, a crane, a chipping machine and a cold-molding machine. And my intention was to go out to the gyre, raise awareness about this issue, and begin to pick up the plastic, chip it into little bits and cold mold it into bricks that could potentially be used as building materials in underdeveloped communities. Paragraph 3: I began talking with people who actually had been out to the gyre and were studying the plastic problem in the marine environment, and upon doing so, I realized actually that cleaning it up would be a very small drop in the bucket, relative to how much is being generated every day around the world, and that actually I needed to back...
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