8-27-12: A path for M&M’s to the ocean

Sometimes Quincy helps me pick up plastic

clear straw

soda lid

orange lid

clear lid

bottle cap sealing ring

dirty square of styrofoam

clear packaging

clear tube packaging

green lighter

green stake

orange pen ParkView Chriopractice Center “It’s your future … be there healthy!”

EMERALD Harmony Triple Chocolate PREMIUM TRAIL MIX

milk carton with a hole cut in the side

red toy telescope with focus ring embedded in cylindrical spotted dog body (doesn’t really focus, but the lens does magnify)

orange tube for M&M’s® minis chocolate candies

Sometimes I wonder how trash from land really gets into the ocean for animals like albatross to pick up. Perhaps a case in point: I picked up the M&Ms tube from the edge of a fast-flowing stream at the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls in the Columbia Gorge. The stream runs into the Columbia River, just out of sight, which runs into the ocean. Many visitors tramp over the trail to Bridal Veil, some dribbling plastic trash in their path. Given that something like this tube containing M&M’s probably lasts for a few centuries, it’s easier to imagine the effect times hundreds of thousands of visitors times many years.

8-22-12: albatross puking up a toothbrush

Reading Carl Safina’s Eye of the Albatross. He describes being on Midway, one of the planet’s most isolated islands, and watching an albatross disgorging food for its chick. A green plastic toothbrush emerges from its throat but won’t come all the way out. It tries several times to regurgitate the toothbrush for its hungry chick, then gives up and waddles away, the toothbrush still inside it.

That is how this blog — this whole disgusting plastic thing — started, reading about plastic in albatross chicks. Laysan albatrosses pick up plastic washed into the ocean from every nation lining the north Pacific: the U.S., China, Japan, Mexico, Canada.

Albatross aren’t stupid. For several million years they have been plucking hard objects like floating pumice out of the ocean to get the flyingfish eggs that are attached. Ocean-smoothed pumice easily comes up. Flyingfish eggs may also attach to floating plastic, but it’s not always so easy to puke up.

Let’s see what today’s harvest has snatched from the mouth of the albatross.

Most of this comes from the schoolyard on the corner.

SOUR PATCH kids Soft & Chewy Candy package, featuring an animated sour patch kid holding a video game controller. Price $2.19.

SOUR THEN SWEET. SOUR PATCH KIDS BERRIES package Artificially Flavored. The back features an animated Sour Patch kid with a collection of spray paint cans. RULE! has been written underneath SOUR PATCH kids berries as if in graffiti with the pseudo tag SPK”. Package contains several sparkly sugar-coated candies: two purple, two blue, one red. Price: $2.19.

small square of white styrofoam

solid tube of white foam, crushed on one end

one bottle of red paint, mostly empty

one bottle of purple paint, a little more full

clear straw

red straw

CHARMS® SUPER BLOW POP BUBBLE GUM FILLED POP SOUR APPLE ARTIFICIALLY FLAVORED wrapper still smelling sickly sweet

very faded Doritos bag fragment

AIR HEADS WATERMELON wrapper

NEW BIGGER SIZE! CHESTER’S FRIED FLAMIN’ HOT CORN & POTATO SNACKS wrapper

large clear bag filled with foam remnants THIS BAG IS NOT A TOY WARNING: TO AVOID DANGER OF SUFFOCATION, KEEP THIS BAG AWAY FROM BABIES AND CHILDREN. DO NOT USE IN CRIBS, BEDS, CARRIAGES AND PLAY PENS. THIS BAG IS NOT A TOY. KNOT BEFORE THROWING AWAY.

narrow clear bag with the same warning message.

 

 

8-22-12: TO PROTECT FLAVOR

Brisk® STRAWBERRY MELON FLAVORED DRINK WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS bottle. ARTIST: COLLETIVO Ingredients: WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CITRIC ACID, PHOSPHORIC ACID, POTASSIUM CITRATE, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE (TO PROTECT FLAVOR), NATURAL FLAVOR, POTASSIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), GUM ARABIC, POTASSIUM, SORBATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), XANTHAM GUM, GLYCEROL, ESTER OF ROSIN, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (TO PROTECT FLAVOR), RED 40, BLUE 1.

black rectangle, dimpled pattern

Eternal Naturally Alkaline Spring Water

Marinela Gansito Snack Cake

ION4® ADVANCED ELECTROLYTE SYSTEM POWERADE ZERO ZERO CALORIE SPORTS DRINK LEMON LIME FLAVORED + OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS Ingredients: WATER, LESS THAN 1% OF CITRIC ACID, SALT AND POTASSIUM CITRATE AND MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE AND CALCIUM CHLORIDE AND POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE (ELECTROLYTE SOURCES), NATURAL FLAVORS, SUCRALOSE, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, VITAMIN B3 (NIACINAMIDE), VITAMIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE), VITMAIN B12, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1.

half ring

Marigold plant tag Safari® Red

orange cap

white lighter top

blue cap

cigarette wrapper A PRIZE-A-MINUTE TEXT. WIN. REPEAT.

Adorable SERIES™ Natural Dwarf Carnation tag

Hello Kitty in sailor outfit sticker

mini ziploc bag

8-12-12 Real Cheese

orange candy wrapper

packing fragment: tion, keep this /not use in cribs, /not a toy. Discard /mediately after

MORINAGA CHOICE Biscuit wrapper (2)

water bottle

AQUAFINA ECO-FINA BOTTLE wrapper

King Car® LEMON TEA bottle

sandwich bag

melted bottle fragment

orange lid

Keebler Pepper Jack Sandwich Crackers Made With Real Cheese

clear bottle cap

yellow butterfly barrett

Lil’ Dutch Maid® Fudge Creme Cookies/ Rellenas de Crema de Dulce de Chocolate Galletas

 

8-7-12 bottle bomb

Plastic water bottles proliferate when summer comes. The other day I picked one up that had clear liquid and little balls of tinfoil. I shook it a little and bubbles formed. Without thinking much, I opened it, dumped the contents out, and took the bottle.

Then I saw another one like this at the elementary school. I picked it up and shook it, again, little bubbles. This time, kind of skeezed out, I left it. I assumed this was some kind of homemade drug delivery system, but an Internets search tells me they are bottle bombs, made with Drano or other household item containing hydrochloric acid. When shaken, the chemical reacts with the tinfoil and explodes boiling liquid.

I sniffed at the bottle I had emptied and confirmed it smells like chemicals. It dawned on me then that the melted and mangled plastic bottles I’d found at each site were the bottle bombs that worked. I am lucky the ones I found were duds, or that I didn’t shake them too hard.

Just in case, though, I called the local police precinct to tell them about the one at the elementary school. Some cops came to the school and then called me because they couldn’t find it. So I walked over with the female officer and we talked about how people never pick up their dog poop on the field, which ruins it for others, while the male officer drove his squad car across the grass. I showed them the bottle. I felt suspect and wrong, which is how I always feel around authority figures.

The man kicked at the bottle with his foot. “Oh look, it’s started to foam,” said the woman, “you’ve started the reaction. Maybe I can neutralize it.” And she took the lid off. The man tipped it with his foot to let the liquid drain out. They left the bottle and tinfoil there and talked about where to get lunch. I didn’t pick it up either, in front of them. So now I guess I can add homemade bomb to the flows affecting my neighborhood, and these other items:

blue raspberry jolly rancher wrapper

black solo coffee cup lid

XXX TOP FLITE golf ball

the name tag of Carmen Martinez