On the 27th May 2017 the Australian documentary, A Plastic Ocean, was premiered in Taipei. Translated into traditional Chinese especially for our event, more than 250 people arrived to watch one of the most powerful stories concerning the global issue of plastic pollution in our oceans.
A Plastic Ocean
Way back in 2014 I joined a crowdfunding event, to help finance a documentary called, A Plastic Ocean. Finally, in February 2017 the documentary was released. After such a long time, I wondered whether it would be worth the wait?
A Plastic Ocean tells the story of plastic and how it has become ubiquitous in our throw away society. We are told that hundreds of millions of tonnes of plastic is made every year and almost all of it being discarded after a single use. The trash that we are generating has simply overwhelmed our society and every facet of our environment.
We were witness to dead and dying seabirds, stomachs full of plastics, unable to digest any more food. Whales found foundered on beaches found later to have yards of plastics in their stomachs. Animals that are simply unable to avoid eating plastic.
Then we are introduced to whole villages living in squalor on man-made plastic mountains, the result of our quest for convenience.
But, we find out, the impact of plastic doesn’t just affect wildlife and poor developing Countries. It affects all of us!
Many of the chemicals used in the manufacturing of plastics are known endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs). These chemicals include phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and tetrabromo bisphenol A (TBBPA). All of these chemicals have serious health implications for humans. Nowhere in society are we made aware just how dangerous these chemicals are. And they are everywhere, babies bottles, drinks bottles, plastic wrap, cups, containers, knives and forks. Everything that is plastic, has toxins and these are building up inside all of us, like a ticking time bomb.
This graphic and emotional film is, at times, difficult to watch. The story it paints is bleak. Then, just when you at your lowest, we are given a glimpse of a future that dares to be different. We meet communities, regreening their environments without plastics, companies repurposing waste plastics and diverting from landfill. Suddenly, you start to realise that actually, there are solutions all around us. The only thing that is stopping us is our indifference to the problems.
Together with local NGO’s from Greenpeace and ReThink and the local city government, I have spent the last 4 months working on this project.
Has it been worthwhile?
With tears in their eyes, people have spoken to me of an awakening. A realisation of what we are doing to our oceans and our wildlife. There have been pledges to stop using single-use plastics. To talk with families and friends and spread the message that this documentary tries to tell. I have been overwhelmed by the compassion that people have for their planet and realise that this mess that we have got ourselves into is not through spite or selfishness. It is simply because we did not know any better. We had been sold a lie by the corporations and their marketing campaigns. They told us that plastic was convenient and safe. The solution to a happy and prosperous planet.
Now that we have seen through this lie we can begin to make things better. It is not too late yet.
A Plastic Ocean will continue to travel across Taiwan playing at more cities and raising more awareness. We hope that the revolution continues!!
All of our shows in Taiwan are sold out and more than 1000 people will watch. But it is still possible to get involved. Check out some of the ways you can help, below.
- Watch this documentary yourself at home, on Itunes or Vimeo.
- Arrange a showing in your city or community by contacting Plastic Oceans
- Go clean a beach with ReThink in Taiwan, or Trash Hero, in SE Asia. There are hundreds of groups all over the world so have a look!
As always though, the most important thing you can do is to consider the impact of your actions. Remember that plastic never goes away. Once it has been made we will be dealing with it for hundreds of years.
And of course please contact me if you need any help helping spread this story.