Plastic Ocean Project

Posted on March 23, 2016 by USA Sustainability Committee
USA Sustainability Committee

Plastic Ocean Project data-lightbox='featured'

When: April 18 @ 5:30

Where: Student Center rm 211

Who: Bonnie Monteleone 

What: The Plastic Ocean Project Presentation

Bonnie travels around the country with her Plastic Ocean Project spreading the word about the plastic marine debris she studies. According to the EPA, actually, outside of the small amount of plastics incinerated, every bit of  plastic ever manufactured still exists today and is compounding. In other words, every piece of plastic you have ever used is most likely still here somewhere, and so up to eighty percent of marine debris is plastic. 

But here's the kicker: in the ocean, plastics do not biodegrade, they photo-degrade. This means that they break up from recognizable items like water bottles and toothbrushes into particulates. These particulates are the most difficult to capture and the most dangerous because they act as sponges for waterborne contaminates (i.e. pesticides) and wildlife can easily ingest them. 

The five canvases of Bonnie's artwork represent the five gyres in the ocean that are full of this same plastic. These five massive, slowly rotating whirlpools accumulate plastic, and because petroleum plastics are made to last, the plastic trash will remain in the ocean for decades or longer. 

The talk about the awareness piece has been done at many universities across the country, and it should be really interesting and informative. She works in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at UNCW as an Administrative Assistant and Plastic Marine Debris Lab Assistant, so not only is she an accomplished artist but she has a background in science as well.

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