Saturday, 14 October 2017

Plastic


Each year we produce nearly 300 million tons of plastic, half of which is for single use. It is estimated that more than 8 million tons of this is dumped into our oceans. The damage to marine ecosystems is devastating.

I find it incredible that despite knowing about the damage we are doing to both to the planet and our own food chains and ultimately our health we continue to pollute.

I have embedded Chris Jordan’s powerful video below; it shows the effects of our actions on Midway, an Island 2000 miles from the nearest continent. I urge you to take the time to watch it and I hope that this post makes you think about the products you use, you might not even know that your shower gel, toothpaste and makeup contain plastic microbeads.

Plastic

Polly bag, plastic tag,
Bic lighter, Huggies diaper,
flip flop, bottle top,
Lego block, zip lock,
fishing line, bailing twine,
piece of rope, Stethoscope,
six pack, plastic cap,
coffee sack, bubble wrap,
tape cassette, gill net,
Kinder egg, clothes peg,
plastic spork, builder's caulk,
cigarette butt, cat gut,
Styrofoam, garden gnome,
orange buoy, sex toy,
soda bottle, hose nozzle,
used syringe, broken hinge,
pregnancy test, high viz vest,
plastic duck, hockey puck,
doorbell , shower gel,
facial scrub, washtub,
zip tie, dolls eye,
makeup, plastic cup,
nurdles, girdles,
tooth paste.
All of this is plastic waste.

The oceans churn to break it down
but plastic’s made to last.
Chemicals leach and particles reach;
the turtle, starved or made infertile,
the albatross chick slowly fed to death,
fish poisoned and mutated,
Cetacea and seals, who drown slowly in nets.
And mankind? well we do the human thing;
dump eight million tonnes of plastic into their oceans each year.

John Carré Buchanan
13 October 2017


If you click on the link below you can listen to me read this poem.




MIDWAY a Message from the Gyre : a short film by Chris Jordan from Midway on Vimeo.


This poem is linked to Poets United.

39 comments:

  1. A very sad reality of today's world. We can do our bit by not using plastic where ever possible.

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    1. So true Vandana, Thanks for your comment.

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  2. A finely crafted list of human ephemera cast askance on the sea. Humankind truly engines its own apocalypse. It's our thing, our empty net-ness.

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    1. Hi Brendan, thanks for your kind comment.

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  3. Hi John - I read your poem and then watched half of the video & could not watch more. Truly appalling & sad what we have done to our environment and fellow creatures. I had not realized that shower gel has plastic microbeads....sigh. We humans CAN do better, but the question is: Do we have the will to do so? (I have come to really look forward to your poetry / commentary.)

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    1. Hi Mary, Thank you for your kind comment, I am glad that you are enjoying my poems. Having lived in so many beautiful places and witnessed the damage we are doing to them I feel obliged to speak out and raise awareness.

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  4. This is a litany.. listing the ways in which we are destroying the planet. Just had to read it aloud. Wish it was made into a song.

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    1. Hi Thotpurge, Thanks for your comment. I must admit I found reading it for the audio was hard enough, singing it would be a real challenge! ;-)

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  5. This is sad, a horror story.

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    1. Hi Annell, you're right it is. thanks for your kind comment.

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  6. This is just sad and i wish people would consider others more in their everyday living and stuff. We need oceans and we need it to be clean and non-polluted because it is also a source of food. Great poem John. I loved how you rhymed the items so well. haha.

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    1. Hi J.T, thanks for your comment, getting the items to rhyme was a bit of a challenge! hopefully the poem will make people think!

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  7. I find it so sad that we still cannot take care of trash properly... plastic can be fantastic to help us... and it's so simple really to take care of. We are all responsible.

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    1. Hi Brudberg, you are right we are all responsible. Thanks for your comment.

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  8. You are such an eloquent spokesman for ecology, John. Since our city started providing recycling containers, we find that that container is always filled to overflowing, and the routine garbage container has very little in it. Thank you for always raising awareness so eloquently!

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    1. Hi Indybev, Recycling and initiatives such as charging for plastic bags in shops (by law) as we have here in Guernsey are a great start, it then needs people to think..... Always the tricky part ;-) Thanks for your comment.

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  9. John, thank you for spreading the word on this. It is beyond heartbreaking, what humans have done to the planet and so quickly. Plastic is one of the worst. Our shores here are speckled with microbeads and styrofoam. "An ocean of grief and beyond" - so powerful. I feel it, constantly, now. John, your feature is posting on Monday - thank you for waiting so patiently.

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    1. Hi Sherry, thank you for your kind comment. I look forward to reading the feature.

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  10. Thank you for your sad and powerful words of sadly what is.
    Plastic pollution is everywhere including the air that we breathe. I wonder if you have read this article: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/06/plastic-fibres-found-tap-water-around-world-study-reveals
    Anna :o]

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    1. Hi Anna, yes many people don't know that when they wash clothes microscopic plastic filaments end up going down the drain and passing through filters in sewage plant before entering the sea and ultimately our own food chains. There is no getting away from it. Thanks for your comment.

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    2. Thanks also for the interesting article, plastic is of course just as bi an issue on land!

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  11. It is a heartbreaking reality. Thank you for this powerful write.

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    1. Hi Ayala, thank you for your kind comment.

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  12. Such a harsh reality so eloquently portrayed!

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    1. Hi Sanaa, thanks for your kind comment.

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  13. Superb! Horrendous truth that we must not ignore. Tx

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  14. An anthem for our times, John. Thank you.

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  15. Love how you sum up the endless list of plastic and than the video is heartbreaking. Thanks for showing. I heard there there are huge islands of plastic on the bottom of the ocean. The worst is that not much is been done yet compared with the enormousness of the problem

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    1. Hi Marja, thank your kind comment. I am glad that you liked the poem.

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  16. As impactful post. The video is very compelling.

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    1. Hi Wendy, Thank you for your comment, I'm glad you found the video compelling.

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  17. Horrifyingly clearly stated, and the excellent rhyming emphasises the point. This one should be taught in all schools, displayed in all supermarkets....

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    1. Hi Rosemary, thank you for your comment.

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  18. And mankind? well we do the human thing;
    dump eight million tonnes of plastic
    into their oceans each year

    We're all aware and but not restrained through any guilt feelings. Big money is involved that motivates big business to continue. It is such a tragedy as realization on the adverse consequences would come at the end when damage is not retractable. Your poem, John is a fantastic offering!

    Hank

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    1. Hi Hank, thanks for your comment. Big money does play a major role, but when enough people use personal choice to address issues, big money will take note. Guernsey has almost eliminated the plastic carrier bag from use in shops by introducing charges per bag. A change bought about by everyday people.

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  19. Plastic is the bane of our existence, although I have to confess that its very plasticity makes it both useful and appealing. Still...

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    1. Hi MMT Thanks for your comment, you make a good point, that said there are alternatives and if we all took more care in the way we used and disposed of plastic, we could make a significant difference.

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I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.