Skip to Main Content

The Trashy Toxicity of Pollution

Written by PETA | November 10, 2009

Litter isn’t just ugly and dirty—it kills. Artist Chris Jordan took a series of photographs of albatross chicks, and the photos are so surreal that I thought they were part of some strange pop-art installation meant to shock and disturb the viewer. The genuine shock, though, came when I found out that these are unaltered images of real birds.


Photo © Chris Jordan


Taken at Midway Atoll, a remote stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific, the photographs depict corpses of albatross chicks whose parents mistakenly picked up plastic in the ocean thinking it was food. With bellies full of plastic, the chicks died from starvation, toxicity, and choking.


Photo © Chris Jordan


This isn’t the first time that this tragedy has been documented. Wildlife filmmaker Rebecca Hosking used her film documentary about the Midway Atoll to get the very first ban on plastic bags enacted in Modbury, England, and her essay about it was published in Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book, One Can Make a Difference.

Every year, this lethal diet of trash kills tens of thousands of albatross chicks on Midway, which is 2,000 miles from the nearest continent—proof that the empty lighters and fishing line that people carelessly discard on roadsides and beachfronts suffocates and poisons animals who inadvertently consume it. It takes only seconds for us to throw away our trash instead of littering and putting the lives of countless animals in danger. If you spot litter, pick it up, and if you catch someone littering, say something—you may literally be saving a life. It really is that easy to be kind.

Written by Logan Scherer

Commenting is closed.
  • Carla says:

    The human race has destroyed this earth and it’s animals. It’s discusting!

  • Kylie says:

    I don’t understand why people litter instead of just throwing away their garbage

  • Shari says:

    Heartbreaking! They must have suffered a awful slow agonizing death. These birds should never have been put thru this pain. PLEASE DON’T LITTER. And thank you Chris Jordan for taken the time to take these picture. You may have help many birds in the future.

  • Sammy Girl says:

    Thank’s sooo much for posting this blog Logan. It really expresses the importance of a clean enviorment. And whoever reads this blog please don’t litter and tell your freinds and family not to litter as well. I love u all 4 loving animals and want 2 thank anyone and everyone who visits this website! I know that it will make a difference in your life because it made a BIG difference in mine! Sammy Girl

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Man’s incessant decimation of God’s creation and massacre of God’s creatures is relentless and egregiously reprehensible and unpardonable.

  • NT says:

    We HAVE really screwed up this planet…

  • Chuck Piorkowski says:

    This is SO sad. It’s bad to see that stuff like this still happens.

  • Chris says:

    What is so hard about throwing trash in the trash can? Those poor animals

  • Leah says:

    awwwwwwwww!!!!!!!! that’s sooooooooo sad! poor little chicks.