wood matches and plastic lighters
Went to buy some matches yesterday, looked all over the supermarket, none to be found. Asked, told that all 'smoking paraphernalia' was over in the gas bar. Trudged through the slush to the gas bar, asked for a box of matches: what a strange request. The girl had to find a ladder to get them from a locked top shelf. I could buy two huge boxes or ten little boxes, no the packages can't be divided.
I said, this is winter, we light candles and kindling; matches aren't smoking paraphernalia, they light fires. Here is the answer: people use disposable lighters or, for candles, those long butane filled wands.
Which is better for this world, a match made of wood or cardboard, or a lighter made of plastic, metal and lighter fluid?
Midway Atoll is located in the North Pacific Gyre, one of five floating continents of plastic litter and chemical and organic waste. Midway is an albatross colony: pieces of plastic, about the size of disposable lighters evidently look similar to squid, the main component of an albatross diet. This plastic is eaten and then regurgitated to feed albatross young. Who die. The corpse decays and as it was stuffed with plastic, a tidy collection of matter incapable of decay is left on the beach.
Plastic never goes away, it just gets smaller and smaller and thus is ingested by smaller and smaller animals. Who die. And while we seem to be able to sample the debris in each of the oceanic gyres, there is so far no solution for its collection.
The photo above is by Chris Jordan, who has made a film about Midway. I heard about it on Radio Netherlands' Earth Beat a few weeks ago.