Part 14: Plague of plastics—forever!
By Frosty Wooldridge
In my world travels from the Arctic to Antarctica, humanity holds nothing sacred on this planet. I’ve sailed and Scuba dived across all the oceans and seas. I’ve rafted or canoed rivers from the Amazon to the Mississippi to the Yangtze. I’ve explored all the Great Lakes to many unknown lakes. I’ve walked on the Hawaiian to the Galapagos Islands to Ross Island at the bottom of the world. I bicycled along the North Sea in Norway and around Lake Titicaca in South America.
At every location on our globe where home sapiens inhabit, humanity throws its trash in every conceivable form.
But by far the most dangerous--any way you cut it, plastics prove themselves humanity’s worst invention. Ubiquitous, forever, deadly and ugly!
As a teenager, I Scuba dived in pristine waters from Lake Huron, the Hawaiian Islands, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean. I saw magic at 40 feet below the surface on coral reefs! Incredible beauty! Thirty years later, my dives carried me into the most disgusting sights on the planet. Plastic drift nets, cut away by fishing captains, killed innocent sea life--forever! For the past 40 years, humans have tossed their plastic containers, pop tops, diapers, billions of bags and every kind and size of plastic trash into our lakes, rivers and oceans. Plastic destroys everything it touches.
As I canoed down the Mississippi River from its beginning at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, it started out as beautiful as a dream. Within five miles, I watched hundreds, then thousands of plastic containers float alongside me after having been pitched by other boaters. Plastic bags hung from trees and billowed in the water as they draped from branches along Old Man River. People drove cars over the river’s edge and left couches and lawn chairs on sand bars. Clothes and junk got tossed along its 2,552 mile trip to New Orleans. It made me sick every day. I filled two large trash bags a day and I couldn’t begin to get it all.
On my bicycle ride from Norway to Greece in 2005, we boarded a ferry from Italy to Patros. Along the way, we witnessed huge floating gobs of plastic trash collected in ugly swarms hundreds of yards long.
Plastic proves the worst human invention, besides chemicals, because plastic doesn’t break down or biodegrade. About the only thing that destroys it is fire, but then, the pollution from the smoke proves fatal to the environment.