Sunday, May 16, 2010

Murdered Albatros on Midway Islands: Direct consequence of human mass consumption

One of my first articles on this blog was about the world's biggest garbage dump: the Pacific Ocean. Located thousands of kilometers away from all land, floating garbage is brought to one specific area by maritime currents. This plastic waste, result of human activity, piles up in the ocean until there is more garbage than actual life (plancton or fish). The plastic is photodegradable, which means the sun rays breaks it down into smaller pieces. Every form of life present there inevitably nurrishes on plastic and ends up killing the animal.

The Midway Islands are located in the middle of the Pacific. Made popular during the Second World war when the US Navy clashed with the Japanese naval army. The Midway Islands are now a beautiful sanctuary for many wild species. Unfortunately, the Pacific garbage patch is located nearby and affects many local species of animals, including birds. Chris Jordan, an American photographer, went there to photograph the consequences of American and Asian mass consumption on remote island creatures.

These photographs of albatross chicks were made in September, 2009, on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.
To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world's most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.
~cj, Seattle, October 2009

All pictures are courtesy of Chris Jordan
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