Critique of a Documentary Film

  • Uncategorized

Critiqueof a Documentary Film

Critiqueof a Documentary Film

JeremyIrons’ Trashedvideoexplains how the current waste disposal habits have impacted theenvironment and destroyed people’s livelihood. The documentary isinteractive because the narrator asks hypothetical questions, whichhe seeks to answer using dialogues with experts and individuals whohave been affected by waste materials in their neighborhoods. Ironshas carried out extensive research to show the problem of wastedisposal that is affecting people all over the world. Besides, heuses statistics to back up his arguments and at the same time provethat the current living habits are putting the environment andpeople’s lives at risk. Additionally, he shows examples from othersources such as the Ted Talks on pollution. Irons takes the audienceon a global tour to show how the escalating rubbish and toxicdisposals result in dangerous consequences. For example, in Iceland,the chemicals from waste products contaminated the livestock andanimal products such as milk thus, destroying the livelihood offarmers in the area.

Consequently,the film proves the concept of nature-society relations. Irons showsthat people have disregarded the impact of their actions on theenvironment hence, they have turned beaches and large tracks of landnear forests and oceans into waste disposal sites. These dump siteshave accumulated too much waste products more than the requiredcapacity, which has caused leakages into the water sources. On theother hand, these toxins end up accumulating in the soil and watersources hence, causing disastrous health effects to the people anddestroys the marine life.

Thevisuals used in the documentary are easy to understand as they showcommon waste materials and their effects on the environment. Theimages and the dialogues add to the discussion topic by offeringexamples and more information to prove the speaker’s claim. Forexample, some of the dialogues elaborate on various issuessurrounding waste disposal. However, after watching the video, myfirst impression changed. Initially, it seemed like a boringdocumentary covering a commonly discussed topic of non-biodegradableitems. The viewer only sees motion pictures of plastics withoutoffering explanations of the main subject discussed in thedocumentary. Nonetheless, the video presentation format changes whenthe author starts explaining various issues that have affected theenvironment.

Thefilm targets all audience because everyone plays a major role inreducing pollution by using better disposal mechanisms. On the otherhand, the dialogues only include people who are directly affected bythe waste products such as individuals living near the dump sites orthe incinerator plants. Irons manages to convince the victims to givean account of their experiences and then backs up their stories usingthe explanations from the experts. Thus, he eliminates anyspeculative testimonies and only relies on credible information,which makes it hard for the viewers to dismiss the video as anotherexaggeration on the impacts of pollution. Likewise, the imagessupport the information by showing the visual account of what Ironsis explaining. For example, he starts by discussing how the Lebanonbeach has changed over the years while at the same time the viewersees the changes that have occurred to confirm the narrations.

Nevertheless,I would have handled some aspects of the documentary differently if Iwere the filmmaker. First, I would not use many visuals and leave themost of the interpretations to the viewers. Instead, I would explainevery step and image to keep the audience attentive. For example,when he is conducting the soil sampling experiment on a farm, heexplains the scientific process in a way that confuses the viewerinstead of using a simple method to discuss the procedure he usedbecause he has already proven to be a credible reporter. Then, Iwould divide the video into segments depending on the subtopic beingdiscussed. For example, Irons handles two major subtopics under theissue of waste, which includes irresponsible waste disposal andmanagement. Therefore, I would have undertaken the task differentlyby giving a short introduction to the subject that will be discussedinstead of jumping straight into the issue and conducting interviews.A brief introduction will give the viewers a clear perspective of theissue that will be tackled. For example, Irons explains the effectsof waste disposal on shorelines and shifts to the subject ofincinerations without giving a conclusion to the earlier topic andintroducing the new subject.

Ironsexplains how the North Pacific Gyre has accumulated waste products,which produces toxins affecting the sea life and the climate.According to Harse(2011),the North Pacific Gyre is one of the five gyres that collectdifferent types of plastic debris. The currents in the North Pacificcirculate with an atmospheric flow to form a gyre. Therefore, whenthe extremely high pressure and little wind combine, they reduce theocean circulation (Harse,2011).The gyre contains slowly spiraling warm equatorial air that pull inwinds and converge the sea currents. Eriksenet al.(2014),explains that the waste materials have climatic impacts, which hasaltered the biogeochemical and physical properties of the ocean. Forinstance, the global climate in the open ocean is changing intemperature, mixed layer depth, acidification, and salinity.Consequently, the marine organisms have altered their distribution tomatch the shifting marine conditions, which can result in extinctionsof these plants and animals (Eriksenet al.,2014).

Theincinerators have been chosen by different countries as a solution towaste disposal because they minimize the volume of waste products andgreatly reduce the need for landfill space. However, the incinerationprocess produces mainly two types of ashes that contain differenttoxic substances some of which are more hazardous than solid waste ifthey are released back into the environment (Miller, Spoolman &ampNational Geographic Society, 2016). The emissions from theincinerated substances include high toxic pollutants such as heavymetals, furans, acid gasses, and dioxins. The incinerators alsodisperse ash throughout the environment that subsequently consumed byhuman beings and other animals through the food chain (Williams,2013). Such projects increase waste production because they hinderprevention, reuse, and recycling strategies. Besides, it costs thecities a lot of money and creates fewer jobs as compared tocompositing and recycling-based businesses (Miller, Spoolman &ampNational Geographic Society, 2016). Irons explains that themunicipalities have tried to use new incinerators, but after beingoperational for a short period, they also start emitting toxins andother residues that are detrimental to human health.

Asindicated by Miller, Spoolman &amp National Geographic Society(2016), the dioxins are harmful pollutants that cause irreversibleenvironmental health consequences such as cancer, neurologicaldamage, and disrupt the reproductive systems. The effects of thesetoxins affect the people living near the incinerators and those inthe border region (Williams, 2013). Irons shows the effects ofdioxins by citing the impact of these toxins during and after theVietnam War. Forty years after the war, the children were born withcongenital disabilities and deformities due to the pollutants thatwere still in the environment. Despite the tests conducted by theenvironmental agencies, the government has been reluctant to closedown the incinerators that have been proven to release harmfulresidues into the environment. The incinerator operators regularlyviolate the regulations such as the emission limits set to protectthe surrounding areas. For example, an incinerator in France wasreleasing 13,000 tons of dioxins more than the set limit. Despite thecomplaints by the locals, the incinerator continued to operate. As aresult, it destroyed 350 farms, 3,000 animals, 7,000 tons of hay, and13,000 liters of milk.

Lastly,the topic of waste disposal has been addressed by many organizationsand individuals with an aim to encourage the people to change theirhabits and protect the environment. However, Irons takes the viewersthrough a unique journey throughout the world to show them thefirsthand experiences of people living in highly polluted areas.Hence, the audience relates to individuals featured from differentparts of the world, which is bound to convince them to takeappropriate action and reduce the non-degradable waste. People arebusy with various social and economic activities that leave little orno time for leisure activities such as watching videos. Even so, Iwould encourage them to take one and a half hours to watch thedocumentary because it is very informative and offers discussion onhow people destroy the environment and in turn they suffer dangerousconsequences. Besides, it evaluates the solutions that are used todeal with the problem of waste products have ended up causingenvironmental pollution. Therefore, everyone should take the time towatch such an informative documentary that is bound to change theirview of disposal and learn how to play their part in reducing thewaste.


Eriksen,M. Lebreton, L. C. M. Thiel, M., Carson, H. S. Galgani, F., Moore, C.J., Reisser, J., &amp Borerro, J. C. Ryan, P. (2014). Plasticpollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plasticpieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. PLoSONE, 9(12),1-15.

Harse,G. A. (2011). Plastic,the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and International Misfires at aCure. UCLAJournal of Environmental Law and Policy,29(2),331-362.

Miller,G. T., Spoolman, S., &amp National Geographic Society (U.S.).(2016). Environmentalscience.Pacific Grove, CA, Cengage Learning: National Geographic Learning.

Williams,P. T. (2013). Wastetreatment and disposal.Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.