By Terry Poulos, Scientiquity founder (Originally published 8/8/2020)
Scientiquity, a brand of science-based art billed as “The Science of Antiquity,” submitted a forth commission piece to the ongoing Greektown Education Foundation street art exhibit. The 2020 theme is Fun and Fanciful Fish.
The title of our piece is “Aquatic Decoherence.” It’s been given the nickname “Poly,” short for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common polymer used in single-use plastic bottles. These containers are a scourge in our oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes. literally choking marine mammals in record numbers.
For the fish’s eyes, we inserted the logo for Chicago-area marine conservation advocacy BlueRing.blue, a foundation established by Alex Rose, Science Editor and a principle writer for Ocean Geographic Magazine, and Managing Editor of Ocean Geographic Explorers.
The sculpture was installed this Summer and will reside at the intersection of Jackson and Halsted streets in Chicago’s historic Greektown, and will remain there for the near future.
The United States has one of the developed world’s worst records when it comes to incentives for recycling plastics, and we’re also consumers of more products packaged in plastic than any nation per capita. Plastic in our waters was already reaching critical levels when Covid-19 hit in 2020. Since, it’s reached even more critical levels, with plastic in discarded masks also finding its way into the waterways, and eventually into our food supply and the air we breath.
According to a report in National Geographic
- It takes at least 450 years for a plastic bottle to completely degrade
- Globally, more than a million plastic bottles are sold every single minute
- In the U.S., only 30% of these bottles are recycled; Norway recycles 97%
- Bottled water requires up to 2,000 times the energy used to produce tap water
- Between 1994 and 2017, water sales in the United States had grown by 284 percent, according to Beverage Marketing Corp. data published by the Wall Street Journal
- Today, plastic bottles and jars represent about 75% of all plastic containers, by weight, in the United States, according to the Plastics Industry Association
- ABC15 report, more than 1.5 BILLION masks believed to have entered oceans in 2020
- Scientific American report, Covid-19 has worsened the ocean plastic pollution problem
- CBS News report, microplastics in drinking water, WHO study
- 2020 New Scientist report, most whales and sea turtles seem to have plastic in their bodies
- 2019 National Geographic report, whale dies with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach, comprising 8% of its total body mass
- Water comprises on average between 65-80% of all fish body mass
WATER IN GENERAL
Sources: Encyclopedia Brittanica, Wikipedia
- Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, mostly in seas and oceans
- Groundwater accounts for 1.7%, glaciers and ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland another 1.7%
- Air contains water vapor and clouds formed of ice and liquid water result in precipitation in the amount of 0.001% of the total
- Water is the main constituent of Earth’s hydrosphere and the fluids of most living organisms. It is vital for all known forms of life
- Water’s chemical formula is H2O, one atom of oxygen and two atoms of hydrogen
- Water is connected by covalent bonds which decohere under the stress of outside chemical elements
IN THE AIR
- A 2020 report in Science Direct cited the world’s first incidence of microplastics found in a human placenta
- 2020 New Scientist report, microplastic pollution discovered near top of Mount Everest
- Cosmos magazine report, microplastics problem “worse than we thought”
- Scientific American report, thousands of tons of microplastics are falling from the sky
Aquatic Decoherence stands approximately 4 feet in height and is about 3 feet wide. Other items found on the surface include one empty plastic bottle inserted on the mouth of the fish, the image of plastic bottles floating in water, and the message “Save our waters.”
Terry Poulos is a Chicago-area writer, archaeological historian, artist and geometer whose investigations focus primarily on physics, fractal topology, and Number Theory
Scientiquity. All images and concepts herein © 2022