Plastics on the Mongolian steppe

“Every piece of plastic created is still on this planet in one form or another”

When you think about it, that statement is rather profound.  Before I left on my trip to Mongolia, I was very curious about what environmental condition I would observe on the steppe/outback/prairie several miles away from any city or urban infrastructure. Myself and generations of my family have been hobbyist fishermen, so preservation of the environment and natural resources have always been a cause of significance. Even as a kid,  I can remember being miles off the coast of California near the Farallon islands and seeing things like an aluminum can or plastic bag float by.

As an adult, my awareness grew after I learned of the great Pacific garbage patch near Guam and the Marianas:

The ocean currents carry much of the trash in the Pacific ocean to eventually accumulate in a patch the size of the state of Texas (268,597 mi²  or 69566303.6 hectare).

Even with the greatest efforts and current technology, the patch can not be cleaned up in our lifetime!

Dead bird with ingested plastics
Photographed near Midway Island (Chris Jordan).

Naturally, of course, the plastics enter the food chain. It is almost certain that you and I have some ppm (parts per million) of plastics in our body.

Chris Jordan is a professional photographer and environmentalist. See his trailer video for the project “Albatross” here.

Getting back to Mongolia, I quickly had my answer less than 24 hours “in country.”  The view from inside of the off-road vehicle on the way to the nomad camp revealed a variety of rubbish along the steppe:




Well as i mentioned in my earlier video “horse transport”, anywhere you find humans you’ll find plastics. Here’s the clip:

So in summary, in the”Land of the Eternal Blue Sky” ( which Mongolia is properly named by the way! 🙂  ) we still can see the effects of modern living and technology  through the spread of plastics.

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First Words of Mongolian

Just a quick post/ video here. I hadn’t really properly prepared in terms of learning some of the language before I left. I doubt it would have helped much. I was able to get by using a phrasebook that I bought on ebay for about $4.00 😛 and using body language. You can learn a lot about a people/culture when trying to communicate in their language.


The “Central Asian” knot

I remember sometimes my hands would be numb from the cold in the morning- so numb that I had some difficulty tying the knot to tether the horses after tracking them down. Durukh showed me a “Mongolian” knot that he insisted I used when tying up the livestock. He was also very adamant about never letting go of the horses tether rope when in hand. I can see why as on 1 or 2 occasions we had to spend 2 hours or so tracking down lost horses!

Here is the knot:

You reaction may be “big deal” right? Well there is some significance to the knot.

Continue reading The “Central Asian” knot