Plastic Pandora

by Lauren YS

Boston, USA – July 2021


Finding This Mural

This mural can be found on the Gove Street facing wall of 62 Chelsea Street.

62 Chelsea Street East Boston

Google Map

Story Behind This Mural

Artist Statement

“A call to action designed around the way plastic waste harms communities and sea life across New England. ‘Pandora’ references the Greek myth of the box opened to reveal all the evil in the world, paralleling the expediency of plastic’s detrimental effect on the air, water, and intersectionally disadvantaged communities of the world.

Plastic accounts for 60-80% of marine garbage, and in high-density areas, reaches up to 95%. The reality is that every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists in one form or another. Even when burned, it breaks down into microscopic, toxic particles. Made from oil, plastic is not a material that our planet can digest. While beach cleanups are great to get people involved in hands-on activities to remove waste that has already washed ashore, unless we close the tap on plastic production, invest in the development of innovative alternatives, and hold trashy corporations accountable to their actions, cleanups are of little or no avail.

The microplastics cascade into Boston Harbor from stormwater and, in the case of fabrics, from the washing machines that feed into municipal sewer treatment plants that eventually dump into the harbor. Adult seabirds inadvertently feed small pieces of plastic to their chicks, often causing them to die when their stomachs become filled with petroleum byproducts. As plastic breaks down into smaller fragments (microplastics that may contain toxic chemicals as part of their original plastic material or adsorbed environmental contaminants such as PCBs), fish and shellfish become increasingly vulnerable to the toxins these polluted particles collect. These bits of plastic are of a size similar to plankton. Oysters, clams, and mussels in the harbor filter seawater to consume tiny bits of food, and thus wind up collecting the microplastics too, which then begin being passed through the food chain.”

— Lauren YS

The Focus

Plastic Pollution and its impact on the marine environment

Action Steps

Reduce your own plastic footprint by

• Using a reusable water bottle and avoiding drinks bottled in plastic
• Bringing your own bag, cup, utensils, straw, etc.
• Shopping in bulk, reducing packaging waste
• Choosing reusable and compostable goods over less sustainable materials
• Vote for the environment