Plastic: the slow death

According to a new article at NPR, plastic-contaminated sea life has now been detected in the very deepest ocean trenches.

From the article:

The Mariana Trench in the northern Pacific is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. You might think a place that remote would be untouched by human activity.

But the Mariana Trench is polluted.

…When the lander surfaced, the traps contained amphipods — shrimplike crustaceans…The amphipods were contaminated with PCBs — polychlorinated biphenyls — toxic chemicals used for decades in industry, as well as other industrial pollutants known as persistent organic pollutants.

“Every sample we had,” Jamieson says, “had contaminants in it at very high or extraordinarily high levels.”

The team found the same thing in another deep sea trench in the Pacific —heavily contaminated amphipods.

Jamieson… thinks the pollutants might get to the trenches by latching on to plastic that’s floating in the ocean. Fish and other marine animals absorb pollutants, as well. Eventually, the plastic and the dead animals fall to the bottom. Like dirt in your house, a lot of it will collect at the lowest points. It’s simply a matter of gravity, and the trenches are as deep as it gets.

The slow death of consumerism/corporatism is the gradual choking of a discarded six-pack ring. A slow poisoning from a wasteful, unnecessary, ‘convenience’ item that is: plastic. A byproduct of the oil industry, marketed in modern democracies as ‘disposable’, of which it is absolutely not. Plastic is so commonplace now it is not impossible to think of our age (stone age, bronze age, iron age) as ‘the plastic age’.


In the artistic or anti-globalist/Modernist sense, plastic represents a true death of the soul. Almost all our household or daily use items are now made wholly or in part of plastic, created in slave markets in Asia, which further divorces us from our own native traditions, values, and aesthetics. We are thus disconnected from our surroundings, everything is cheapened, temporary, impersonal. The average person can no longer imagine making their own shoes or spoons or picture frames. Or what it is like to live in a village known for making it’s own spoons a certain way, uniquely. In this sense the plastic pollution problem is even more depressing, as for all it’s mountains of landfill waste, we are producing very little of value. Nothing anyone actually cares about. The global plastic marketplace is the starkest example of ‘death by urbanite’.