The World Around Us: Levels of Plastic Effects

The majority of plastics in the ocean float at the surface, the primary feeding habitat for sea turtles. The consumption of plastics like these by the turtles can cause a variety of digestive complication(Auta et. al, 171). To these unsuspecting reptiles, plastic bags resemble their favorite prey, jellyfish. Nearly two thirds of every sea turtles swimming in the oceans has plastic contents in it’s gut.(Bugoni et. al, 1331). Even when the sea turtles leave the oceans to breed, the plastics still haunt them. Plastics accumulate on the shores of beaches where sea turtles breed, which severely disrupts their re-productivity, causing changes in the temperature and the permeability of sediment (Beckwith and Feuntes, 32). In addition, plastics also have an unseen ally, micro-plastics, which accumulate in the oceans, on the beaches where the sea turtles breed. Not only do these micro-plastics end up in sea turtles breeding grounds, they can make their way into the sea turtles, but also make their way into other organisms exposed and sea salt (Auta et. al, 169-171).

In an effort to represent sea turtles in the fight against ocean pollution and plastic, and organization called TRAIL in 2018, created a sculpture of a sea turtle out of unrecyclable goods(see below). The continuing problem in environmental art on the subject is representing micro-plastics to people in way that will bring more light onto the often forgotten subject.

“The Chair Backed Turtle”, TRAIL

Our own perceptions of plastics come back to bite us, because these micro-plastics do end up not only in sea turtles, but in every organism humans use as a resource from the world’s oceans. The problem of plastics in our oceans has been ignored for many years (Derraik, 842). As a global society, we must recognize both our individual and societal responsibilities to changing the way we perceive and interact with our environment for the betterment of sea turtles’ lives, our lives, and our planet as a whole.

An example of environmental art aimed towards the ideas of shifting perspective to better understand and correct global environmental issues can be found in the song “Earth” by Lil Dicky (see below). The message of this song is to encourage encourage a more collective effort, which is important when dealing with a problem like plastics in our oceans because the plastics can travel vast distances with no way of tracking them. In taking a collective effort in reducing our plastic use, improving our disposal methods, and removing what we’ve polluted, it will make the process much easier for everybody.

This video is a clean version of Lil Dicky’s music video “Earth”