I am Plastic

When I walk the beaches with guests on my little island homeland—whether they’re clients or friends—one of the most frequent comments is “Where does all this stuff come from?” They, of course, mean all the trash on the beach, most of which is some form of petrochemical junk, or plastic. I used to simply reply, “It all floats up here from everywhere else. The ocean is humanity’s dumpster.”

Now, as a modern fly fisher, I cannot in good conscience lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the inconsiderate slobs that dumped their trash over the side, or into a river, or on the beach thousands of miles from our peaceful shores. Not hardly. Just look at me: I wear plastic clothes—what did you think all that hi-tech fishing clothing is made out of, rainbows and butterflies?—cast hooks decorated with plastic with plastic-coated lines, while watching fish through plastic-framed glasses… pausing occasionally to slug water out of my plastic canteen before taking pictures with my plastic-coated camera. I am as much to blame for the proliferation of this ubiquitous material as those poor souls who lost their flip-flops over the side on a cruise, or the long-liner who tosses an empty water-bottle over the side in the deep Atlantic.

I am plastic.


Trash collect by Liz Clark inside a lagoon in French Polynesia.

Trash collect by Liz Clark inside a lagoon in French Polynesia.

I recently ran across this post on The Cleanest Line:

Taking Responsibility: 5th International Marine Debris Conference…Words from Roz Savage

When I set out on this trip, I thought there would still be places where I could see what the Earth looked like prior to human impact. Sadly, I think I was wrong. Every place I have sailed has borne painful evidence of humanity’s maltreatment of the Earth. The coral is dying, fish populations are visibly low, and pesticides, sewage, runoff, and toxic pollutants fill the sea near populated areas. Everyday ships arrive with thousands of tons of imported goods to quench consumerist thirst and fill the landfills, ocean, and air with the by-product–>plastic. Read more here…

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  • Reply

    Apparently we’ve all absorbed a certain level of plastic into our fatty tissue as a result of eating and drinking foods contained and preserved in plastic our entire lives. So your first person declarative statement is literally right on.

  • sensitive soul

    Great link. I recall how for so long the story was about saving the trees and everyone switched from paper to plastic bags at the grocery store.. now it’s come full circle and plastic is out with paper or reusable bags being promoted instead. We just have to face the fact that humans are destructive of the world around us. Civilizations are anything but civil to the earth. Industry is the antithesis of nature. We have a long way to go to recover a way of life that is earth-friendly.

  • Reply

    It is a depressing thing… I’d stick my head in the sand, but I can’t get through all the plastic on the beach.

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