All Roads Lead to Plastic

Well, a lot of thoughts lead to plastic. I was reminded of that when I read Martha Cooley’s blog about coming upon a beggar along an upscale shopping street of Milan, Italy. Her thoughts turn from the beautiful merchandise to the beggar, to what happens in the end to all the beautiful merchandise and the plastic retail bags they were carted home in. Floating in the Pacific Garbage Patch, is what. From beauty to trash, from coveted to disposed.

Here in Gloucester, our minds don’t have to wander to plastic, plastic rolls up on the shore every day, hand-in-hand with the beauty of the coast. Hurricane Sandy coughed up a few net balls on the beach recently, the twisted entanglements of fishing filament, nets, and whatever else, dead or alive, it can grab along the way.

Fifteen foot net ball or “slug”
Close up of net ball coughed up by Hurricane Sandy

This particular ball is more slug-shaped than ball-shaped, but they come in all shapes and sizes, all dangerous to sea life. They roll on the bottom of the ocean collecting more fishing line, more nets, sea turtles, crabs, lobsters, and other creatures of the deep. They often start out as a single net that has washed off a ship’s deck. These are called ghost nets, nets that go on fishing without us.

Close up of fishing line.

Sometimes when you study something long enough, no matter what it is, even a skin sore, it becomes interesting, even beautiful. I have to admit, the net balls have a certain beauty of their own. Beauty, danger and death, it has always been thus.