Most of what we eat, drink, or use in any way comes packaged in petroleum plastic- a material designed to last forever, yet used for products that we then throw away. This throwaway mentality is a relatively recent phenomenon. Just a generation ago, we packaged our products in reusable or recyclable materials – glass, metals, and paper, and designed products that would last. Today, our landfills and beaches are awash in plastic packaging, and expendable products that have no value at the end of their short lifecycle. Roughly 50% is buried in landfills, some is remade into durable goods, and much of it remains “unaccounted for”, lost in the environment where it ultimately washes out to sea. This plastic pollution is becoming a hazard for marine wildlife, and ultimately for us.
Large systems of currents, coupled with wind and the earth’s rotation, create “gyres”, massive, slow rotating whirlpools in which plastic trash can accumulate. Because petroleum plastics are designed to last, plastic trash in the gyre will remain for decades or longer, being pushed gently in a slow, clockwise spiral towards the center. (from the 5Gyres website)
The dedicated scientists, (namely Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner at the University of Hawai'i), activists (especially the 5Gyres Institute and Captain Charles Moore at Algalita), ocean lovers and eco warriors who are working on plastic pollution in the sea inspired these works. You know who you are.