A boy runs bare-footed through the surf on Mumbai’s Back Bay beach.
As today is Earth Day in the northern hemisphere, I thought this post might help illustrate how well we are looking after our planet.
I’ve put this in the ‘People’ genre under the ‘Nature’ category, because this is what people have done to nature.
Did you know that there is a vast area of plastic debris and other flotsam drifting in the northern Pacific Ocean that is larger than the area of the United States? I didn’t - until I read this story on news.com.au (precised):
”It has been described as the world's largest rubbish dump, or the Pacific plastic soup, and it is starting to alarm scientists.
Discovered in 1997 by American sailor Charles Moore, what is also called the great Pacific garbage patch is now alarming some with its ever-growing size and possible impact on human health.
The ‘patch’ is in fact two massive, linked areas of circulating rubbish, says Dr Marcus Eriksen, research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, founded by Moore.
"It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States," he says.
The concentration of floating plastic debris just beneath the ocean's surface is the product of underwater currents, which conspire to bring together all the junk that accumulates in the Pacific Ocean.
Moore, an oceanographer who has made the study of the patch his full-time occupation, believes there is about 100 million tonnes of plastic circulating in the northern Pacific - or about 2.5 per cent of all plastic items made since 1950.
About 20 per cent of the junk is thought to come from marine craft, while the rest originates from countries around the Pacific like Mexico and China.
The waste forms in what are called tropical gyres - areas where the oceans slowly circulate due to extreme high pressure systems and where there is little wind. The garbage in the patch circulates around the North Pacific Gyre - the world's largest.
A lack of big fish and light winds mean it's an area of the Pacific less traveled by fishing boats and yachts. Moore says he discovered the floating mass of rubbish by chance, after steering his catamaran into the gyre while returning home from a yacht race.
Historically, flotsam in the gyres has biodegraded. But modern plastics do not break down like other oceanic debris, meaning objects half a century old have been found in the North Pacific Gyre.
Instead the plastic slowly photodegrades, becoming brittle and disintegrating into smaller and smaller pieces which enter the food chain and end up in the stomachs of birds and other animals.
Dr Eriksen said the small plastic particles acted like a sponge to trap many dangerous man-made chemicals that found their way into the ocean, like hydrocarbons and DDT.
"What goes into the ocean goes into these animals and onto your dinner plate. It is that simple," Dr Eriksen said.”
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Critiques | Translate
bibiweb (8) 2008-04-22 7:20
I agree that this is a horrible sight, but your photo is an excellent documentary and well composed with that kid running barefoot amonst the rubbish. That article you posted in your note is also very interesting and though I had already heard about all this floating plastic in the Pacific, I wasn't aware of the size of it. A very appropriate post for Earth Day.
dumbo (4541) 2008-04-22 7:25
Horrible place but great photo!
You have captured this moment very well. A boy running through the beach without a shoes meanwhile a wave is bringing lots of trash to this already dirty beach.
Good example for a human mindless.
AROBN54 (11473) 2008-04-22 7:36
What a sad mess we've made of our planet. This shot is an excellent example of the horrific shape of our world we are to leave to our children. That is just... I don't even have words for it.
Outstanding note. I had no idea and had heard nothing of that catastrophe. Heaven help us all. We don't have to WAIT for Armegeddon - we're creating it. A great shot in honor of Earth Day. Thanks so much,
everlasting (14698) 2008-04-22 7:37
sadly enough your post makes for an excellent documentary image.
A timely reminder on Earth Day
marion44 (9) 2008-04-22 8:05
Talking about the photo : this is a wonderful one. I've just comment a "paradise" photo, this could be the opposite.
I think beautiful photos have a great impact as it's not a scenery of sadness or anything but a daily life scenery, so well composed, showing what is beautiful (childhood) to stimulate our soul .
Without the kid, it would have been so different. The kid gives the feeling that something must be done, a feeling of hope after all.
I don't think this photo is sad, and I don't share Elaine-Everlasting's opinion that a photo must be "sadly enough" to be a documentary one. Photos of hope are stronger than sadness one and convey the feeling that everyone can (and must) act. Sadness and compassion are not useful, realising how beautiful is Earth and acting for "Her" is; and here is the job of a documentary photo (or simply of a photo) to my opinion.
Thanks a lot for your amazing photo,
Xen (572) 2008-04-22 9:51
This is DISGUSTING!!! I can't believe all the cr*p everywhere!! Makes you realize how much we are destroying this beautiful planet of ours.
This is a disturbing vision but one that must be complimented for making us face the reality of how we live today.
VERY WELL DONE!!!
bapun1 (803) 2008-04-22 11:24
Should be an eye opener. Great pic to highlight a story of great negligence.
Jeppo (17645) 2008-04-22 12:02
A particular picture.
I appreciate the many contrasts inside this pic:
child playing in contrast with the rubbish
silly political speeches from Northern Emisphere against sad reality
This pic fully fullfills TE purposes...to know the world through photos. its dark and sad sides too.
AiresSantos (56155) 2008-04-23 1:18
Great photojob, excellent contibute to call the atention for the environment problems.
I also like your note
imtiyaz (1005) 2008-04-23 1:33
Perect shot for earth day,
very horrible and thoughtful image.
Philippe (11836) 2008-04-23 2:53
Hi, David. Thank you for making us aware of what's happening in the Pacific. I live far away from that and had never heard of it. Your picture has a highly educational value. We associate the sea with beaches and holiday. You show us that the sea is used as a giant dustbin. Clearly, something has to be done and this begins by educating kids and making them aware of the harm they can do by simply throwing their rubbish in the streets or even worse in nature. Your picture gives food for thought and I think that, from that point of view, it is a real masterpiece. Seeing taht kid running barefoot in the rubbish really gives me shivers!
sacavem (18614) 2008-04-23 3:10
..."Great photojob, excellent contibute to call the atention for the environment problems.
I also like your note..."
Well done. Best wishes.
Cretense (68695) 2008-04-23 3:52
This is an astonishing, documentary and journalistic photo, great choice for this important day, a sad thing to see, but this is where this beautiful planet is heading to unfortunately. congratulations!
oochappan (16582) 2008-04-23 5:12
Incredible this garbage you can find everywhere in India, they simply don't have garbage-cans and that with a mass of people throwing all everywhere. But they clean their teeth every morning shiny white :).
Ramarkable worldhé David.
PJE (20758) 2008-04-23 12:03
David I never knew that Mumbai received this amount of garbage plastic. Your bringing this to light has made a tremendous contribution for trek members to become more aware of this problem. Very interesting and thank you for sharing!
John_F_Kennedy (43445) 2008-04-24 1:17
I had seen the same in Manila asw well and was shocked. The colours, composition are very good, a good documetnation. Well done.
ktanska (25907) 2008-04-24 1:21
You are one of the few TE members who has guts to show stinky details of our earth. And people live, play and grow up on that mess. Thank for showing it. Your made a good picture which makes people to notice it and think.
TGULUMSER (13252) 2008-04-24 9:39
It is a good idea to take the attention of people about the environmental pollusion. Everyone in the earth is responsible for that disaster,
Thanks a lot for sharing us this meaningful shot,
Charo (51210) 2008-04-25 2:07
Impresionante foto con ese vertedero de basuras al lado del mar. Una foto que transmite tristeza y rabia. Buen trabajo.
aloyho (6798) 2008-04-26 1:56
People used to say that a photo is better than a thousand words and this shot just did that. In the simplest manner it projects the message loud and clear. I like your choice of human verses environment here and the boy just showed the couldn't care less attitude towards this issue that many of us might have. An eye-opening shot!!
Regards and all the best.
wolf38 (31284) 2008-04-28 8:33
Hello David. I open the beautiful picture and see giving. No Exotik, no clear water, no idyl. Only garbage. A really hard photo. It is a picture worth seeing for Trekearth. Very authentically, informative text, - and exemplary realizes. Best regards, Wolfgang.
batalay (36994) 2008-05-08 3:56
A somber and sobering site, and most informative complementary note. The odors, I would imagine, represent a third component of this man-made disaster.
In posting an image of a poster, "Plumb Tower of Pisa," I was thinking of your poster from the airport in Berlin, "30 Euros for a Hug." But yours had more context than mine.
krakowiak (4762) 2008-05-26 22:05
This photo has been taken on Earth..... ?
alainh (35583) 2008-08-21 22:13
what can i say ? great and sad testimony. what are we making ? what we shall let at our child ?
kiks (11785) 2009-01-19 11:30
We HUmans should be ashamed that we don't show more respect to the planet where we are aloud to live!! What a story about the plastic garbage at the Pacific. I never eard about it. Thak you for the shout for awerness.
marietom (34609) 2009-01-20 8:24
elle est terrible, cette image, et me rappelle certains coins que j'ai vus à Abidjan...
Belle image de reportage.
siolaw (38292) 2009-01-21 23:37
An important subject, and you show it in a striking way... I am right now in Goa (south of Mumbai) and it is becoming the same as your picture... The picture in itself is well composed with attractive diagonal of the waves, and the kid, adding the necessary movement and dynamism..
axiotea (21649) 2009-01-23 7:45
Sad reality! but somehow I'm not surprised with your picture... I'm leaving in Goa (not far from Mumbai at about 580kms)where the garbage are daily thrown along the roads, in the fields...with no shame! Nothing is done and day by day the problem is seriously increasing!!
Thanks for your image and note
bakes888 (18499) 2009-01-25 22:45
Hi David. I think I saw something on TV about this mess, and the buck passing and blame laying that goes with it. Truth is anyone who buys anything wrapped in plastic has a responsibility to deal with the rubbish properly. Nice capture and worthy message.
Take care, Paul.
Hellas (6869) 2009-04-22 22:39
May this photo to have been sent one year before but the message is always an evergreen topic!
Many thanks for sharing.
eversmile (11636) 2009-12-26 2:34
That's an important picture, realised with an excellent timing. The boy running barefoot, like if trying to escape to the horror, is a good addition in a "scenery" already very evocative by itself. The contrast between the grey of the sand and the water and the colors of the rubbish works very well... although the colors, usually joyful, become a sad proof of the pollution. Your way to frame in diagonal creates a good dynamical effect and increases the feeling of emergency.
Your note is absolutely astonishing. I would never have imagined things had taken such proportions! It is worth being forwarded all around us, if it can help people to be aware and act more consciously. I include immediately this picture in my theme Which world for tomorrow?.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-03-19
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED, UV
- Exposure: f/7.1, 1/180 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Clean Planet No Rubbish, Xuaxade, Which world for tomorrow, Things That Mean Something [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2008-04-22 6:42
- Favorites: 4 [view]