Saturday, July 15, 2017


Environmentally speaking, you may already know the fact that plastic, unfortunately, is not biodegradable. Instead, it just sticks around, seemingly forever. But you may not have previously heard of what is known as "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch," that spot mid-Pacific Ocean, at which much of the world's garbage seems to be coalescing. Is this some myth?

To learn the answer documentarian Angela Sun, a perky, peppy but very pleasant young woman, travels to Midway Atoll, the site of a famous World War II battle in the midst of the Pacific Ocean, and learns some very interesting stuff, the result of which is the nearly hour-long documentary feature, PLASTIC PARADISE: THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH.

Turns out that this garbage patch is indeed real, but as we learn during this very interesting and timely doc (though it was made in 2013, it resonates more strongly now than ever), the "patch" actually resides below the surface of the water. Her movie lasts but 57 minutes yet Ms Sun, shown at right, packs in a huge amount of disturbing, thought-provoking information and statistics -- beginning with a bit of history of plastic, along with the fact that plastic production has grown exponentially over the years. (From 1927 through 1943, thanks in large part to the needs created by WWII, there was a more than 3000 per cent increase in plastics production!)

Angela does a lot of digging: into the companies (and their lobbyists) that manufacture this plastic, and why they do not/will not see to it that there are better means of plastic disposal (they wouldn't make as much money, of course); into the reason for this Pacific Garbage Patch; and into what plastic is doing to animal and marine life; and into the environmental pollutants absorbed by plastic that is then ingested by fish and fowl, which are in turn sometimes eaten by humans. (We learn all about BPA and its accompanying dangers here, too.)

Ms Sun interviews experts on these subjects (Dave Rastovich, above, is one such) and is wise enough to admit that plastics per se are not the real problem. As one interviewee points out: Way too much plastic is "designed to last forever but made to be used only once."

For those who follow environmental issues regularly and closely, the film will not offer much that's new. But it is so well put together and so full of good information that it should provide anyone who cares about our environment and its continuing decay with a crash course in this subject, along with some viable ideas on what to do about it.

Out this coming Tuesday, July 18, from Bullfrog Films via Icarus Home Video, the DVD of Plastic Paradise will be available for purchase and, I hope, rental.

No comments: