Worldwide the amount of trash grows harder every year, but what happens to it? Burying or burning doesn’t clean up the trash, which is very toxic nowadays, according to the documentary ‘Trashed’.

About forty visitors, almost all students, attended to the documentary in the theatre hall of Erasmus Pavilion at 3 September. The movie was the first initiative by Eva Rood of Sustainable EUR this academic year. In an hour and a half actor Jeremy Irons shows how trash threatens world health and nature. The cause? The last 150 years our trash contains more heavy metals, plastics and other chemicals than before. And nature isn’t capable of breaking them down, while the essence of nature is: building up and breaking down.

Bury and burn

So, what happens to this toxic trash, which nature cannot digest by itself? We bury it, and as a result landfills arise all over the world like ugly hills. And worse, landfills pollute the ground, also the surrounding ground. In big cities like New York or Tokyo, there aren’t enough landfills to ‘clean up’ the trash from the inhabitants already.

Instead of burying trash, burning is another possibility to get rid of it. At least, one think that the thrash disappears. In fact, the most toxic leftovers of burning chemical trash are the ash and fume. Especially dioxin is very toxic, and the scary part is that everyone has some amounts in their bodies.

Dioxin is bad

This brings Jeremy Irons to a hospital in Vietnam, where children live who have all kinds of anomalies. According to a nurse those anomalies are the effect of poisoned ground, caused by the US army during the Vietnam war. She states that military planes sprayed dioxin over parts of the country. The dioxin came into the bodies of men and women by inhaling the air and eating products from the land. A scientist said in the film that men can’t get rid of the dioxin in any way, but women can: by having a baby. Confronting were the shots of immature fetuses who had all kinds of defects, probably caused by dioxin.

People in Jakarta live on trash

Plastic soup in the ocean

During the film, Irons mentioned several effects of chemical trash and the one seemed even worse than the other. Plastic in the ocean, for example, has polluted the sea life to such an extent that a way back is hardly possible. Cleaning the ocean is undoable, because plastic and other trash has fallen to small pieces, like confetti. And it eddies everywhere, which has effect on all sea life. It starts with small sea animals and fish that eat polluted food. If bigger animals eat them, they take in the trash too, because most of it stays inside the animals. A fisher explains that the killer whale therefore gets down the most toxic trash en that influences its fertility in a negative way.

Produce less trash

After having seen these horrible effects of trash, which was dumped or burned, one question was left to answer: what can we do about it as citizens? The answer is simple: produce less trash! For example, when doing your groceries, put the products in bags and boxes you brought yourself. Irons visited a store in the UK where this is already possible. And don’t throw away stuff easily, but think about the effects first, or try to recycle the products.

Wooden bee palace

Eva Rood also plans a ‘campus clean sweap’ this autumn, she wants to introduce ‘Meatless Monday’ and she hopes that people will donate some money to build a wooden palace for bees. LJ