Paul Connett: Some people, when they see the stack of an incinerator, the chimney, they think, "Oh, dilution, dispersion!" and forget that nature reconcentrates - reconcentrates in fish, particularly mercury, and reconcentrates with any grazing animal: sheep, pigs, goats, cows, um, chickens, and so we get all this back to us. And now just to finish that story, the huge problem here is that once we get dioxins into our body, we can't get rid of them. The man can't get rid of them. The woman has a way of getting rid of them; it's called having a baby. So she's getting the dioxin from her food every day; she can't get rid of it. It accumulates in her body fat, and when she's pregnant, the dioxin that she's accumulated for twenty-five years or so in her body now moves to the fetus. And so the effective concentration of that stuff is hugely increased in the fetus: potential to interfere with the baby's mental development, the baby's immune system, and the baby's sexual development. It's not a wise thing to do.
Jeremy Irons: So when a fish eats plastic, what, what does it ingest? I mean, if we were to eat that fish, would it be - would we just cut out the plastic from its stomach?
Charles Moore: Well, uh, we've all grown up with this idea, since it's part of our food delivery system, that plastic is inert. We think of plastic as not transferring anything to the food because we get our milk in plastic, we get our yogurt in plastic, we get our meat in plastic, and we really wouldn't like it if we had some concept that plastic was bioactively transferring chemicals to the food that were a problem for our body. Turns out that's actually what's occurring. And in the ocean, it's not only the compounds that have been mixed into the plastic at the time of manufacture, but it's the compounds that have been absorbed by the plastic as they float in the ocean.
Charles Moore: Releasing bad chemicals into the atmosphere doesn't mean they stay up in the atmosphere. They condense into the ocean. Creatures in the ocean then take them into their bodies. That starts the biomagnification process. This is why the whales are having difficulty reproducing. They're the sentinel, they're the canaries in the coal mine, they're the harbingers of what's going to happen to us. There may only be a few, uh, generations before human beings won't be able to reproduce, and plastic floating on the ocean is nature's way of telling us to get after a problem.
Jeremy Irons: We are trashing our planet, and it's time to stop it.
Jeremy Irons: From space, it's hard to see any evidence of mankind on Earth, or the effects we're having on our planet's finite resources. From up here, it looks perfect. It's only when we look more closely that we start to see some of the results of our consumption; particularly the one that's rarely talked about: waste.
Paul Connett: You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that you cannot have infinite growth against finite resources.
Vyvyan Howard (Prof. of BioImaging): It has been estimated that between 50 and 80 % of the total dioxin-contamination of the planet has been caused by the incineration of waste