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Earth Science

Plastic Trash Forming Into "Plastiglomerate" Rocks 123

sciencehabit (1205606) writes 'Plastic may be with us a lot longer than we thought. In addition to clogging up landfills and becoming trapped in Arctic ice, some of it is turning into stone. Scientists say a new type of rock cobbled together from plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals has begun forming on the shores of Hawaii. The new material--which the researchers are calling a "plastiglomerate"--may be becoming so pervasive that it actually becomes part of the geologic record.'
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Plastic Trash Forming Into "Plastiglomerate" Rocks

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @01:26AM (#47169551)

    Does this mean that like organic things in dinosaur era which turned into petroleum in favorable conditions, these plasticrocks will turn to rock oil ?

  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:12AM (#47170373) Homepage Journal

    Parent link George Carlin (Q:"Why are we here?" A:"Plastic, asshole.") routine was insightful. Reporting on environmental problems needs to better distinguish between serious harms like habitat loss and species extinction, resource conservation issues (one generation using everything up - like fresh water - disadvantaging later human generations), and what researchers call "fetishizing". The "fetish" is used when people are made to feel guilty about something (e.g. "waste") and continue to attach guilt and responsibility to the item based not on risk but on past human ownership. This can lead to regulations which disadvantage recycling (secondary copper smelters), secondary markets (e.g. used display devices and cell phones) disproportionately to the risk.

    There are some interesting academic papers on environmental fetishes and untended consequences of fixations based on previous human 'ownership' and 'guilt association'. Many environmentalists are scientists and are aware of the 'quasi-religion' of moral risk association, but are afraid to speak openly about it the same as the Renaissance's great thinkers were afraid to publicly pose their doubts about Christianity. The philosophers doubted much about sources of Christian ethics but were concerned about replacing it with anarchy. Scientific environmentalists have similar concerns about exposing "fetish" environmentalism without discrediting actual moral progress on stewardship.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.