Plasticus Maritimus. An Invasive Species
Ana Pêgo and Isabel Minhós Martins (Authors), Bernardo P. Carvalho (Illustrator), Jane Springer Laura Shovan (Translator)
When we last visited the beautiful beach of the highest lake in the world, Titicaca, we decided to collect some sweet water shells with my kids. We soon turned our attention to plastic: for a handful of organic shells, we had combed an entire sack of plastic debris, filled to the brim. If that is the problem in an inland lake, population 30 thousand, how do you think we are doing on a global scale?
Ana Pêgo grew up near a sandy beach in the Portuguese coasts. Inspired by her explorations when she was a child, as an adult she decided to investigate her findings by giving them a name: Plasticus Maritimus.
What Is Plasticus Maritimus?
It may not be a living thing, but it is an invasive species. You can find it deep in the ocean floor, in all bodies of water, in the food chain, and yes, in the human gut as well.
Plasticus maritimus (Pêgo, 2015)
This is the name of the scientist who identified the species. That’s me, Ana. My surname is Pêgo. This is the year in which the species was identified.
This is the family of species that possess some type of plastic in their constitution.
Characteristics: This species appears in a wide variety of forms. Usually, these forms are identifiable—we can easily recognize a fishing net or a water bottle.
However, Plasticus maritimus often turns up in unfamiliar ways. In these cases, we can’t tell what the object is and we must investigate.
With beautiful illustrations, easy to understand explanations and a lot to say on the subject, this comprehensive guide to the most invasive man made species will leave the readers horrified. I grew increasingly sick, and by the end of it, I was committed to hunt down, reduce, erase, and hopefully eradicate the problem once and for all.
The simplicity and evocative use of color help us warm to the subject, we have seen so many pictures of garbage on sandy shores that we have grown oblivious to it. However, we must be made aware of the scale of the problem. Some great ideas are listed on the back as the ways some countries have decided to ban the use of single use plastics, and the explanation of how little plastic we manage to recycle is another eye opener.
Ana Pêgo is a marine biologist and artist whose environmental education projects combine science and art. Her plastic artworks have been exhibited internationally. She lives in Cascais, Portugal.
Isabel Minhós Martins graduated from Lisbon College of Fine Arts, and, with three friends, founded the publishing house Planeta Tangerina. She lives in Carcavelos, Portugal.
Hardcover • $19.95 USD
6” x 8.25” • 176 pages
Age Range: 10-14
Grade Range: Grades 5 and up
Curriculum Connections: Science / Environment /
Climate Change / Sustainability / Art
Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute