This hell that floats in our oceans: Plastic by the numbers as a form of art.


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Chris Jordan has done it again. And if you're not sure who this fellow is, then let me be the first to introduce you to this digital artist extraordinaire, who creates these magnificent images of consumption in our world.

The latest is a little mindboggling to say the least. Called "Gyre," this image:

Depicts 2.4 million pieces of plastic, equal to the estimated number of pounds of plastic pollution that enter the world's oceans every hour. All of the plastic in this image was collected from the Pacific Ocean.

Now these images are huge - this one being 8 by 11 feet. But that allows you to look from afar like this:


And get closer...


And closer...


And closer...


Until you can see each and every piece of garbage in tantalizing detail.


This is utterly appalling. All this crap, representing the number of pounds of plastic dumped into the ocean every hour!

I guess sometimes it takes a pretty picture to reveal an ugly reality. More of Chris's remarkable work can be found here.

You can also find our prior references to Jordan's work at this Timebomb post, this one about disposable cups, and here, on What We Waste. Also see our brief mention last year of the Great Pacific Trash Vortex and then the New Yorker's article on Plastiki from last month.

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By ABradford (not verified) on 11 May 2009 #permalink

Trash going into the oceans is horrible, but that's no call to get into pseudoscience (the "trash vortex" myth - Accurate information and real facts don't need garbage arguments.

I think Badger is right to show concern for empirically supported views on trash in the oceans. I think, though, that the more important empirical evidence here is the amount of consumption and disposal of plastics in our lifestyles. Jordan's art calls attention to that obscene glut. The link to the Pacific Trash Vortex -- a separate, non-Jordan link -- shouldn't over-ride or derail the bigger issue at stake. Read the New Yorker's Plastiki article for other info; but don't go to Greenpeace for the bottom line, whose map is misleading even if their purpose in preparing it was to introduce awareness to our glut.