Expect more, Get trashed

©2011 GKImagery

Photograph taken Jan 20, 2011

Paper or plastic? Neither! There is no need for the convenience embodied by that question. Oil and Trees, both valuable recourses, do not have to be harvested for the purpose of providing people with an unnecessary convenience. Briefly reusable and unsustainable, these bags have been polluting the earth for decades; paper grocery bags since 1852 and plastic ones since 1977. We have produced so many bags that they hang from trees, scare motorists on the freeway, and clog the waterways. San Jose, California recently passed a ban on some types of single use plastic bags, set to take effect in January 2012. Until then, thousands will continue to be passed out at liquor stores, grocery stores, and department stores.

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Chester Tree

Photograph taken Jan 20, 2011

Chips, a one minute salty snack packaged in a forever lasting plastic wrap. How can this be? Since the late 1950’s the amount of products packaged in plastic has exponentially risen every year. Chip and candy companies spend millions on convincing us with advertising, low expense, and taste bud trips, that their products have a necessary place in society. Yet, Obesity and Diabetes are on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control, 24.8% of Californians are Obese and 8% are Diabetic.

The packaging for these products is made with Polyvinyl chloride, which causes cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, among other health problems. With this knowledge, one would think that there would be faster movement away from wasteful, harmful foods packaged in toxic film.

At the Guadalupe, the chip bag and candy wrappers are outrageous. After each rain storm, and consequential flood, the number of chip bags increases, while the amount of land and the physical health of the plants and animals, humans included, decreases.

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Serene Enamel

Photograph taken               Dec 14, 2010

An all to common sight at the Guadalupe River Parkway is the spray paint can. This can floated by as I was photographing a pair of Hooded Mergansers. The ducks were startled by the shinny spray can and retreated into the brush along the river bank. I turned my lens to the can and immediately began to wonder what chemicals this container could possibly be leaking into the water.

As I began to notice more and more spray cans in the river, I started collecting them. First, to get the harmful chemicals out of the water, and second, to demonstrate the substantial number of them one can find in a single strip of the river; between Coleman and Taylor.

When hiking the Guadalupe, one can sometimes smell the spray paint before coming upon it on the banks. I found that spray paint contains many harmful chemicals: Xylene, Toluene, Acetone. All are harmful to the brain and nervous system and they can be potentially fatal. The metal can oxidizes overtime, corroding the metal, causing leaks in the cans. The contents of all cans, including pesticides, home cleaner, and paint are flowing through the water, and thus, all who come in contact with it.

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