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Oceans of Plastic: Melbourne Filmmaker Sees Firsthand the Effects of Plastic on Marine Health

Chanelle Sladics

Posted on May 28 2014

When Melbourne-based filmmaker Michael J. Lutman agreed to film a scientific expedition examining water quality in a section of the Atlantic Ocean in 2010, little did he realise how much it would change his life.

Mr Lutman, 33, says he knew nothing about boats, had never been out to sea before, and was not a conservationist. Yet in 2010 he joined the research vessel Seadragon on the very first scientific expedition to document plastic waste in the South Atlantic Gyre.

“Somehow, after a couple of drinks in San Francisco with a very passionate friend, I found myself in a port in Brazil about to sail for South Africa,” Mr Lutman recalled.


Essentially a landlubber at heart, Mr Lutman defied seasickness to film this research expedition. It involved four weeks at sea in a yacht in all weathers, trawling the surface of the ocean. His intention was just to film and remain neutral in his thinking. But the expedition had a profound effect on him, leading him to reflect on his own lifestyle and consuming habits.

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