Visual Pollution

Visual Pollution is a term given to describe visual elements of a landscape or vista that are unattractive or uncomfortable to look at.  If pollution refers to the fouling of air, water and land due to man-made activities.  Visual pollution can be described as the fouling of landscapes or vistas (“uglification”,  if you will).

Visual pollution, however, is an aesthetic issue and what is clutter to one man (e.g. billboards) can be a well-placed advertisement to another.   Personally, I believe space can say as much as something that is printed.   There should be a balance between the two.   Billboards can also lend character to their location.  In fact,  some places are well known for their signs (Hong Kong, Times Square and Las Vegas immediately come to mind).   Just recently, the Mandaluyong city government dismantled billboards along the 23-kilometer stretch of EDSA (E.  De Los Santos Avenue).  These billboards featured members of the Philippine rugby team promoting a brand of underwear.    The city mayor’s office says these signs did not have the necessary permit and they believe these can also be offensive to underage children.

As long as there’s space, there’s always an ad waiting to be printed – and a sponsor willing to pay for it.

Billboards and signs are the usual culprits.  But this problem is more complex than it looks.  The rise of global brands in today’s competitive business environment has also brought with it the increasing need to be heard and seen.   In an attempt to stand out from the crowd, businesses employ non-traditional advertising techniques, which covers a multitude of media, not just billboards and signs.   Nowadays we see bus/tram wrap-around stickers, cab signs and even ads on the backs of printed receipts.   As long as there’s space, there’s always an ad waiting to be printed – and a sponsor willing to pay for it.

Islands of Trash?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area containing marine trash located between Hawaii and California. The exact size is unknown because it is constantly growing. It is sometimes referred to as Trash Island but this is a misnomer. It’s not just a single island but instead, it is an area containing deposits of debris.

Garbage patches happen when rubbish gets collected in oceanic gyres. A gyre is a convergence of wind and ocean currents. About 90% of the trash in garbage patches are made from plastic. Since plastic does not break down easily, it affects wildlife significantly e.g. whales and dolphins are snared in nylon nets, seagulls choke on straws and sandwich wraps. Longer term effects include accumulation of toxins which may be passed on to other animals, and subsequently up the food chain.

Some of the best ways to avoid these is by enacting stronger waste disposal and recycling policies. But why wait? We can start now by making a conscious effort to practice proper waste disposal at home. Let’s teach our kids more about how we can care for the environment.

We don’t need a movement to tell us why this is important.

Click here for more information on these garbage patches