Documentary Review: A Plastic Ocean

For my second extra credit blog post, I watched A Plastic Ocean on Netflix and here is my review:

Message: Refuse single-use plastics and spend your consumer dollars wisely because plastic waste & styrofoam are damaging our oceans and inevitably affecting us. We will show you why plastics should cease to be produced and then dumped into our landfills and the ocean – because it never goes away.

Summary: The documentary, A Plastic Ocean, begins with the Director Craig Lesson, attempting to follow and record Blue Whales off of the coast of Sri Lanka. Craig has always had a fascination for these animals, which began when he was a child. While filming a juvenile pigmy Blue Whale, the camera glances up towards the surface of the water – where loads of plastic and trash are floating and bobbing in the waves. This is how Craig begins the story…The waste problem is disproportionally affecting Blue Whales because they feed by opening their mouths and sucking in up to a hundred gallons of water and cannot distinguish between krill and plastic before digestion. The scientists in the documentary even found plastics along the ocean floor, where sunlight never reaches. The documentary quickly touches on Earth systems, particularly the 5 massive gyres that can be found all over the world.

Biases: The Director, Craig Lesson, has major devotion for the ocean to where he understand its intrinsic value. This attribute would greatly sway the way this documentary is directed and the messages he intends to spread. In addition, it is plain to see that this documentary was targeted towards Americans because it mostly discusses American influence on waste.

Reflection: I found it rather shocking that almost every plastic product made on the planet is, in one way or another, still around. This revelation further proves one of Barry Commoner’s Laws of Ecology that we learned about it class – but it’s still disturbing to realize that the massive amount of plastic that I have encountered and use throughout my life is somewhere now, even years after I enjoyed that Starbucks Frapp! Another reflection I’ve made while watching this film was the blatant environmental injustice that occurs in countries outside of the United States. For instance, the documentary highlights on a country where 2,000 families live on a 123.5 acre lot designated to be a landfill in 1998. Just like we’ve discussed in class, this community also faces birth defects, cancer and other implications due to the pollution that they are surrounded by. It is so unfortunate that these people do not realize the connection between the place they live and their health – some even burn plastic to help cook food! I feel like awareness to the health effects of plastics and living on landfills is desperately needed in these areas!!

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