Minutes of Y’s Men Meeting of March 30, 2017
Dan Lanzilota creates sculpture out of refuse. At the same time he is concerned about the environment.
Mr. Lanzilota collects refuse from all over the world for his projects. But he noted that waste by-products are ubiquitous in societies today and are created even during every day activities such as doing laundry or washing a car. Both of these tasks produce about 250,000 strands of nano-plastic, which find their way into the water system. Even our tires produce tiny amounts of plastic dust with every revolution.
These contaminants are consumed by us, plankton, birds, fish and every living creature none of whom can digest it. It is estimated that by 2050 every sea bird will have plastic in its stomach. These plastics are also toxic accounting for increases in the amount of cancer, asthma and many other diseases. And this plastic is indestructible. It will be there forever.
The problem has progressed to the point where even the ocean has absorbed all the trash that it is capable of handling.
Our attempts at makeshift remedies like recycling are failing. He pointed out that much of Connecticut trash is sent to Bridgeport for handling (which he called environmental racism). There and in similar collection points, much of it is burned, which releases toxic chemicals into the air.
For his art, Mr. Lanzillota collects refuse that he feels can be transitioned into useful or artistic objects. He calls this seeing the potential in an object.
Q. What can be done to clean up Styrofoam?
A. It is very difficult and costly. It can be transformed into bricks used for making homeless housing, but if they catch on fire they become a fireman’s nightmare as the emit seriously toxic gas. We really have to reduce consumption.
Q. Have you ever been to the garbage museum?
A. I have. In fact I used to go frequently. It is amazing. You see truck load after truck load of trash coming in every day. We are out of control.