Plastic Poem, Plastic Plague
Yellow garbage bag ties
pieces of ziplock bags
whole ziplock bags and baggies
tips of tiparello cigars
orange bread bag ties, green ones
juice bottle top
milk bottle top
camera lens cover
pieces of pampers disposable diapers
toy truck wheel
pieces of bic pens
bic pen top
piece of yellow comb
orange elmer’s glue cap
black binocular lens cap
many caps of many unidentified things
many nondescript pieces of things in many colors
pieces of fishing line, pieces of netting’
blue baby doll brush
baby doll arm
toothpaste tube cap
nyquil cold medicine cup
bic cigarette lighters—everywhere
pieces of styrofoam cups and plates
straws—red and white striped, blue and white striped
pieces of forks and knives and spoons
six pack beer can yokes
pieces of balloons—green ones, yellow, blue and red
The sand cannot cover this.
The earth cannot bury this.
The lake cannot swallow this.
—Sara Loosestrife, White Pine Beach, Point Pelee, Ontario, August 31, 1986
—More than five million plastic containers are dumped into the ocean each day by the shipping crews of the 50,000+ ships that sail the seas.
—Commercial fishermen alone dump more than 50 million pounds of plastic packaging into the sea each year and lose some 300 million pounds of plastic nets, lines and buoys.
—Participants in an Oregon beach cleanup two years ago collected 26 tons of garbage in three hours.
—2,000,000 seabirds, several hundred thousand mammals and turtles die every year because of plastic ingestion.
—90% of albatross chicks on Laysan Island have some quantity of plastic in their digestive system.
—Plastic banana bags dumped from docks in Costa Rica are found in the digestive tracts of sea turtles which probably mistake the bags for jellyfish—one of their favorite foods.
—Lost fishing nets trap and entangle fish and other water wildlife. A single piece of netting, recovered in the North Pacific contained one hundred dead seabirds and two hundred dead salmon.
—Each night, Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean fishermen set out eight-mile long, twenty-six foot deep nets, stretching 20,000 miles of invisible netting. Each morning when the nets are retrieved, an average of ten miles of netting escapes detection, continuing to entrap and kill fish. Thousands of miles of old, deteriorated nets are consciously left behind or dumped overboard each year.
—Each year ten times as many fur seals killed by native Alaskans are killed when they become caught in plastic netting left out by commercial fishermen.