Archive for the ‘Movie’ tag
I watched the documentary Plastic Planet last night. Despite its similar title compared with this blog, water occurs a few times in this documentary. In fact, it is shown in this documentary, how by-products of plastic are measured in human blood and linked to infertility.
The two most pressing problems with plastic are:
The amount of garbage it turns into. 2 examples:
- the ratio of plankton to plastic in the oceans is as high as 1:60. This is very much related to the plastic in Albatrosses I have blogged previously about. The movie talks about a trip with the sailboat Algalita from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. You can check out one of their presentations here.
- annual clean-up weekend on a japanese island (a fairly small island, the kind where you can walk around in a day) results in 120 truck loads of plastic. That’s one small island only!
The health problems it causes. None of the “direct problems” are deadly immediately. There is one interview however in the movie with a scientist who says something along the lines:
“When you drive to your chemotherapy session to treat the cancer you got because of continuous low-level exposure to plastic, you will ask yourself if all the plastic you ever used has been helping you”.
Both problems are intertwined: a PVC diaper continues to degrade and release substances for 200 years.
Here are some more pieces of information from the movie:
the production of the actual plastic is secret. Here is an illustrative example: A company that manufactures water bottles usually doesn’t “create” the plastic they use but they buy it from a third party. Hence, the company that builds water bottles doesn’t know what substances are contained in the “raw plastic” (the pellets) they use. Finally, the company that fills water into water bottles is yet another company.
60 million tons of plastics are produced in Europe per year
big business: sales: 800 billion Euros per year
common misconception: plastics are inert. Not true! it degrades and bound molecules get free
- ubiquitous (present everywhere) — clenup on island: in 2d 120 truck loads
- persistent (chemical compounds that don’t change with changing environmental influence)
the first plastic was created just after 1900: Bakelite
Two of the most critical compounds of plastic are Phtalate and Bisphenol A. There is also Vinyl chloride, which is needed in the production process of the pellets. Exemplarily a chemical process factory of a company called Montedison near Venice, Italy is shown in the movie, where a worker with state attorney Felice Casson has linked the use of Vinyl chloride with health problems.
A key concept related to health effects originating from plastics is “endocrine disruptor“
Like the movie, I want to close with a positive outlook: There are attempts to create products with similar properties like plastic, but from regenerative sources. Such products are called “Bioplastic”. A company that produces Bioplastic is called Novamont based in Italy.
We were taught in environmental engineering undergrad-level that the first pictures of earth taken from space ignited an conditions on earth that allowed the seed of the environmental movement to prosper and grow in the 1970’s.
I just came across this movie, I have never seen something like it before, and I wonder what kind of conditions it might ignite.
Sorry folks for not blogging for a while, but I was having troubles updating to the latest version of the content management system I am using for this blog, Word Press. I just solved the issue, finally, by temporarily de-activating all plugins.
Here is something fun: over at short sharp science they posted this idea of using water. I think it looks awesome and I want to try it! However, I am not sure if ther has been photoshop at use… 🙂
I like it!
This is a little movie of a water-balloon exploding after somebody stuck a needle into it. The cool thing: it’s filmed at 2000 frames per second!
National Geographic has a pretty cool video showing how the extent of the Columbia Glacier (Alaska) varies between May and September 2007
People, this collection of wickedly awesome chemistry clips has not toooooo much to do with the general theme of planetwater.org. But, of course, with science and the fun of experimenting.
It’s also this time of the year where in the chemistry lab above my office the 1st year environmental engineering students have their inorganic chemistry labs… which reminds me of the times when I took it, and the fun we had… with conversations like “Hey Claus, do you think it’s normal that there’s smoke coming out of the sink after I poured this liquid down the sink?” 😉
Edward Burtinsky is a Canadian Photographer, who gained some fame through his work he called “manufactured landscapes”. These include glowing orange-red rivers originating in mine waste piles flowing through some of the most beautiful fractured limestone.
Burtinsky has recently been to China and his latest movie, also called “Manufactured Landscapes” opened a few days ago in New York City according to J-Walk, however rottentomatoes says it was released in 2006. The photographs are stunning, so I bet the moving pictures are worth it too!