What happens when we waste

I was thinking about what you said about reducing your household waste and it really reminded me of this video that I watched recently.

Chris Jordan, the photographer who guided the Midway Project team, also works for National Geographic. In fact, one of his photos is on display right now as part of the National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Photos exhibition at the ArtScience Museum.

I showed this video to the children (and the Aged Ps) and they were all very impressed by the impact that carelessly strewn waste would have on our wildlife. Videos like this are a good way to teach children about social responsibility and the impact of consumerism on the environment.

Birds are particularly vulnerable as many species of birds naturally swallow stones to aid in digestion. Of course, the gastroliths are eventually worn down and then passed out or regurgitated by the bird. It is clear that birds cannot distinguish between natural rock and plastic detritus. I think they may even mistake floating garbage glittering in the water for small fish!

Non-biodegradable plastic bits that float around in the seawater cannot be ground down in the bird’s gizzards, and not only do they leach chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system, but they are also sponges that soak up toxic chemicals in the water and poisoning the creatures that ingest them.

Afterwards, we took a walk through the neighbourhood with the Aged Ps, where the kids inspected the drains for plastic litter (we found LOADS – Singapore is not as litter-free as one might expect). The Aged Ps even suggested that we visit the beach with a bin bag and a pair of pincers to help clean it up[1], and writing in to our church to ask if they would consider using biodegradable paper cups instead of styrofoam cups.

One step at a time!

1.Unfortunately, we missed the date for this year’s International Coastal Cleanup Event Singapore, but there’s nothing stopping us from doing our part on our own time!


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