I don’t spend much time in the desert. Haven’t spent any time there really, not since my Air Force days, anyway. And as far as any kind of emphasis on the arid regions goes, the Ikkatsu Project hasn’t gone there at all. Which makes sense, considering that the ocean is more the focus of the operation but it doesn’t hurt to see what impact plastic waste may have in other places, as well.
Turns out it kills camels. Camels mistake filmy plastic bags and fragments for food and can end up dying from complications of the volume of plastic they consume. “We unearthed this mass of plastic, and I was just appalled. I couldn’t believe that — almost did not believe that — a mass as big as a medium-sized suitcase, all plastic bags, could be inside the rib cage of this [camel] carcass.” That’s Marcus Eriksen, from 5 Gyres, quoted in the article on some of the sobering research done in Dubai, where camels are dying from gastrointestinal blockages, sepsis, dehydration and malnutrition. and some of the animals had well over a hundred pounds in their guts before they died.
The bags and other wispy, plastic sheeting that the camels swallowed didn’t come from the places where the camels lived, that’s the thing. When you and I ask what all this destruction has to do with us, that is the thing to remember.