Welcome to Scrap Collector, Waste Dive's Friday round-up of insights and stories you may have missed during the week.
DEAD WHALE "FULL OF PLASTIC" WASHES UP IN THE PHILIPPINES
"It was full of plastic — nothing but nonstop plastic," marine biologist Darrell Blatchley told NPR. "It was compact to the point that its stomach was literally hard as a baseball."
The stomach in question belonged to a young Cuvier's beaked whale that washed up last Saturday in the Philippines. The whale, which was weak and vomiting blood, died within a few hours — leaving Blatchley and his team to uncover 88 pounds of plastic, including 16 rice sacks and multiple shopping bags, during the necropsy. The sheer volume of plastic, said Blatchley, suggests that the whale had been suffering for months, a year — or even longer.
According to Blatchley, who assists various organizations in rescuing and recovering marine animals, the whale's death by plastic is far from an isolated incident. Within the last decade, his team has recovered 61 whales and dolphins just within the Philippines' Davao Gulf: "Of them, 57 have died due to man — whether they ingested plastic or fishing nets or other waste, or gotten caught in pollution — and four were pregnant."
The Philippines, which shipped approximately 6,500 metric tons of illegal plastic waste exports back to South Korea this past January, has joined other Southeast Asian countries in cracking down on foreign waste shipments.
"We call on Southeast Asian countries to strengthen their safeguard against importation of plastic waste and to strictly enforce their policies against transboundary waste shipment," said Beau Baconguis, regional plastics campaigner at GAIA Asia Pacific and Break Free From Plastic, in a statement. "It is unfair for these developed countries to export their waste to Asia and then have the gall to call Asia as the world's biggest plastic polluters."
IN OTHER NEWS...
Go West, Mr. Trash Wheel — SFGate
And now for some slightly cheerier news about creatures washing up on your shores: Mr. Trash Wheel, the adorably wholesome and dad joke-prone trash muncher of the Baltimore Waterfront, is headed out West! Bay Area residents will be able to catch him good-humoredly (with notable exceptions) gobbling up their trash in spring 2020, when he arrives in the Oakland Estuary.
Illegal trash dumping and litter build-ups have long plagued Oakland and the Bay Area as a whole, which found approximately 2 million gallons of garbage in its waterways a decade ago. Mr. Trash Wheel, however, may be able to help with that — the solar-powered mechanism will trap trash in the bay and funnel it into Mr. Trash Wheel's "mouth," at which point the debris will go down an internal conveyor belt and into a container located on a separate floating barge. The trash will ultimately be incinerated in a WTE facility.
But Mr. Trash Wheel isn't all substance and no looks, according to creator John Kellett: "Because the machine looks the way it does, it draws attention to the problem, and people become inspired to become part of the solution."
Inspiring, indeed — if only we all had the ability to guzzle trash all day and still look so effortlessly Instagram-ready.
"Ain't my fault that I'm out here gettin' loose" (in a MRF) — V Magazine
I don't know about you, but the first time I visited a MRF, I thought to myself, "Hey, this is pretty chill, but you know what it needs? Preternaturally beautiful people in extravagant clothes grooving and primping to Lizzo."
Okay, I didn't — but V Magazine, Oliver Peoples and Keep America Beautiful did? Catch Oliver Peoples' spring collection against the unlikely background of the New York City Recycling Center in the video below:
SEEN & HEARD
On this day in 1968 MLK Jr. first visited the striking sanitation workers in Memphis. Courageous sanitation workers have been on the front lines of racial and economic justice movements for decades. This campaign is part of that legacy. #DontTrashNYC #MLK pic.twitter.com/D5mRDoc4oL— Don't Trash NYC (@donttrashnyc) March 18, 2019
You know their faces - now help us name the #DSNYRecyclingTeam! First up, grey trash can. He works for a clean City. His orange cape helps him fight waste! And his zerowaste belt reminds us to reduce, reuse & recycle. Read his story & vote on a name: https://t.co/E3QA9qVka3 pic.twitter.com/ZFewRYu58y— NYC Sanitation (@NYCSanitation) March 18, 2019