Why I filled a 50,000 litre aquarium with plastic debris | Douglas Coupland

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When Douglas Coupland saw debris from the Japanese earthquake washing up in Canada, he became fascinated by the centrality of plastic in our lives – and began to pick it up

In 1999, I was in a Tokyo department store walking down a household cleaning products aisle and had what you might call an ecstatic moment when the pastel-tinted plastic bottles on both sides of the aisle temporarily froze my reptile cortex: pink, yellow, baby blue, turquoise — so many cute-looking bottles filled with so many toxic substances, all labeled with bold katakana lettering.

I bought 125 bottles and took them back to my hotel room where I emptied them down the toilet. Yes, I can hear you judging me as an ecological criminal, but then let me ask you this: if I’d added some dead skin flakes or some shit to these chemicals, would that then have made it OK to deliver them into the Tokyo harbour?

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