Plastics in the lunchbox. Plastics in the sea.

While eating lunch at work recently, my co-worker pulled out a sandwich wrapped in a colorful sash of woven materials. This wrapper, probably part of a rice sack from a distant place, was washable and reuseable. And – I thought – perfect. Looking into my own lunchbox, plastics abounded. Sure I washed and reused a few plastic bags made from recycled plastic. But was this enough? It turns out, no. The use of plastics leaves many negative effects in our streams, rivers, and seas.

For some time, scientists have known plastics are accumulating in the ocean. A recent study found plastics are floating deeper than previously assumed. Pieces of plastic can extend 20 meters below the sea. One mass near the northwest coast of the United States is about twice the size of Alaska. These particles are ingested by fish, birds, turtles, and other marine wildlife. Often these animals do not survive.


Above Photo: G. Proskurowski, Sea Education Association

Awareness is rising fast and people – myself included – are changing plastic-ey ways. Heal the Bay is working to spread awareness in California, and many creative outreach efforts are happening in Portland. The RiPPLe effect is an annual art gala that showcases creations made of plastics and other trash collected during a river clean-up. This project was started by Jenn Rielly. The International Plastic Quilt Project is promoted by another non-profit to challenge people to live without plastic for one week. Participants collect any plastic encountered and make a quilt piece. The quilt piece becomes part of a traveling exhibit.

All of this talk about plastics and water has certainly made me think. While I might not get around to making the quilt piece, I am going to go sans plastics for a week. Let’s give this a go.

Advertisements

Comments

  1. Thanks for this post!
    Please read and share my post about Water’s footprint in Fashion http://wp.me/pXsUB-oi
    You can make the difference!

  2. Nice post!
    Here is mine on water bottles
    http://mistdesigns.wordpress.com/

  3. Congratulations on finishing your MS. Rainbow Water did not see any announcements of the defense on hydrocyberspace. Look forward to your return. Blue and green grow our food today, but grey is also part of the Blog Action Day:

    http://rainbowwatercoalition.blogspot.com/2010/10/greywater-action-blog-greywater.html

  4. @ elenasc and mintdesigns: thanks for sharing your water posts. I’m so happy it’s water blog day. Water runs through all subject matters.

    @ Rainbow Water Coalition: thanks for sharing your water post, too. And if Rainbow Water Coalition wants to see Water for the Ages master’s presentation, it will be given again to the OSU Socio-tech class on November 9th at 8am.

  5. Congratulations on the work you are doing to clean up our seas. We at Water for Humans understand the detrimental effects plastics have on our water supplies. We must wean ourselves off of plastics altogether. Let’s hope this activism and advocacy spread and collectively we can change our habits and truly understand the impact of our actions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: