Tag Archives: Plastic Pollution

The Dance of the Strandbeests

Excerpts from the BBC and Leslie Taylor, Talking Science

Brilliant kinetic sculptor and artist Theo Jansen builds ‘strandbeests’ from yellow plastic tubing that is readily available in his native Holland.

The graceful creatures evolve over time as Theo adapts their designs to harness the wind more efficiently. They are powered only by the wind and even store some of the wind’s energy in plastic bottle ‘stomachs’ to be used when there is no wind.

He lets the strandbeests go on the beaches where they move independently with the wind.

On his Web site, Theo Jansen explains some of the mechanisms his “animals” have “adapted” over time, including a wind storage system:

“Self-propelling beach animals like Animaris Percipiere have a stomach. This consists of recycled plastic bottles containing air that can be pumped up to a high pressure by the wind. This is done using a variety of bicycle pump, needless to say of plastic tubing. Several of these little pumps are driven by wings up at the front of the animal that flap in the breeze. It takes a few hours, but then the bottles are full. They contain a supply of potential wind. Take off the cap and the wind will emerge from the bottle at high speed. The trick is to get that untamed wind under control and use it to move the strandbeest.”

Strandbeest Theo Jansen
Strandbeest Theo Jansen

Talking Science Article

Youtube BBC

Midway Journey II, An Environmental Tragedy Depicted

Excerpt from Midway The Journey

“Midway Atoll, one of the remotest islands on earth, is a kaleidoscope of geography, culture, human history, and natural wonder. It also serves as a lens into one of the most profound and symbolic environmental tragedies of our time: the deaths by starvation of thousands of albatrosses who mistake floating plastic trash for food.

Five media artists, led by photographer Chris Jordan, traveled to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge to witness the catastrophic effect of our disposable culture on some of the world’s most beautiful and symbolic creatures. But even more, they embarked on an introspective journey to confront a vitally relevant question: In this time of unprecedented global crisis, how can we move through grief, denial, despair and immobility into new territories of acceptance, possibility, and wise action?”


Filmed and edited by Jan Vozenilek, Narrated by Chris Jordan, Written by Victoria Sloan Jordan, Music by Christen Lien

Young albatrosses making their first foray out to sea can become waterlogged and exhausted, drifting back to the beach to rest and dry out. This disturbing video shows the plight of those unlucky enough to become trapped by the high metal retaining walls in Midway’s harbor. The doomed birds drown in an entanglement of dead birds and plastic marine trash.

MIDWAY JOURNEY – Plastic Water

Filmed By Jan Vozenilek, Narrated by Victoria Sloan Jordan, Music by Christen Lien

Scientists say that plastic now outweighs plankton 6 to 1 in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The lagoon of Midway Atoll is the perfect laboratory to witness all sizes of plastic slowly breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. A variety of plastic washes up on the beaches daily, but not before some local fish make a meal of it.

Featured Image: B.Mayer

Original Article and Videos

Midway Atoll, Photographic Work By Chris Jordan, in Coastal Care

Plastic Pollution, Coastal Care

Tulum’s Dirty Beaches

Mayan coast, Tulum, Mexico. Photo source: ©© Jeff Stvan

The Riviera Maya is the name that’s been given to the strip of Caribbean coastline on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula which starts just south of the mega-resort of Cancún and stretches for 120km south to the more homely town of Tulum.

Lucy Gallagher of Mexiconservacion explains why some of Tulum’s beaches, Mexico, are so dirty.


An Environmental Impact Statement: Abstraction of Destruction

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

By Roberta Smith, The New York Times

The vivid color photographs of J. Henry Fair lead an uneasy double life as potent records of environmental pollution and as ersatz evocations of abstract painting. This makes “Abstraction of Destruction,” his exhibition at the Gerald Peters Gallery, a strange battle between medium and message, between harsh truths and trite, generic beauty…

Read Full Article and View Slideshow, The New York Times

J Henry Fair: Abstraction of Destruction – in pictures, Guardian UK

Did You Just Eat a Plastic Bag?

“The unprecedented plastic waste tide plaguing our oceans and shores, can become as limited as our chosen relationship with plastics, which involves a dramatic behavioral change on our part…”
Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care


Many of us limit our intake of tuna and swordfish due to high mercury levels in those fish, but research is just beginning to show that we are consuming many other chemicals through our seafood, and our disposable plastic waste may be a potent source of this contamination. This article will take you on a possible journey from your plastic bag, to the ocean, and back to your dinner plate with a fish that may have fed on a plastic bag. Has our quest for convenience with throw away plastics led to contaminated fish?

Read Full Article, Huffington Post

Plastic Pollution, Coastal Care

Ban on plastic shopping bags, Italy

Plastic bag on beach. Photo source: ©© Kaometet


Italy, one of the top users of plastic shopping bags in Europe, has banned them starting January 1, with retailers warning of chaos and many stores braced for the switch.

Italians use about 20 billion bags a year, more than 330 per person, or about one-fifth of the total used in Europe, according to Italian environmentalist lobby Legambiente…

Original Article, Reuters

Plastic Bag Reduction Around the World

Plastic bag bans around the world, BBC

250 billion plastic fragments in Mediterranean

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Some 250 billion microscopic pieces of plastic are floating in the Mediterranean, creating a biological hazard that reverberates up the food chain, according to research supported by green campaigners.

The estimate comes from French and Belgian marine biologists who analysed water samples taken in July off France, northern Italy and Spain to a depth of 10-15 centimetres (four to six inches)…

Read Full Article, AFP

Accumulation and fragmentation of plastic debris in global environments, 2009 Study, Ifremer

What’s Outside Counts, Too: European Law and Excess Packaging

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


The citizens of Lincolnshire, England, were so fed up with the layers of plastic and cardboard and Styrofoam that encased their store purchases this fall that they took a high-priced, highly wrapped piece of meat to court…

Read Full Article, The New York Times

Courtauld Commitment 2

Grocery Store taken to court over excess packaging

Urban Stormwater Runoff: A Significant Source of Beachwater Pollution

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Storm Water Runoff: What it Is wrong:
When rain falls or snow melts, it can’t just lie there forever. Eventually, it has to go somewhere. Under ideal conditions, this water will seep slowly into the ground. Sometimes, however, the amount of water generated exceeds what the ground can handle. In such a case, the water makes a beeline for the nearest exit: your friendly local storm drain. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated. One of the major causes of beach closings and advisories is stormwater runoff…

The best way to protect beachgoers from water contamination is to prevent pollution from reaching the beach…

Read Full Article, “NRDC testing the Waters 2010 Report”

Associated Content

EPA, Stormwater Basic Information

NRDC, Sources of Beachwater Pollution, Report

Ocean Conservancy, Storm Drains and Pollution