An important environmental issue, plastic trash in the ocean, receives thorough—but often confusing—coverage.
A huge collection of plastic trash, “plastic soup,” is especially notable in a vast area of the Pacific Ocean. What floats at the top is only about four percent of the total; the rest has broken down into tiny bits, which are often consumed by marine animals, and some has further degraded into toxic chemicals. Combining interviews with experts in various fields and her own blog entries (some of which include dated political commentary), Goossens provides comprehensive but occasionally disjointed coverage. Uneven translation, particularly in the blog excerpts, from its original Dutch is part of the problem. “What if, everyone—anywhere in the world—could have the right to a benefit enough to live from?” is typical. Frequent references to European locations, organizations and people, with the apparent assumption of reader familiarity (Germany’s extensive recycling effort, Der Grüne Punkt, is highlighted in one section, with little explanation, for instance) add further complication for American readers. Vivid color photographs, mostly of trash or bright plastics yet to be used, suffer from a total lack of captions. Tracking Trash, by Loree Griffin Burns (2007), tackles the same subject with far greater clarity.
Given that better efforts for American readers are available, this is an appropriate choice only for the most dedicated of environmentalists. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)