“Tampon applicators,” Richard James, The Coastodian, 2013.
There is a direct connection between the sense of shame women feel and littering and pollution. Hundreds of thousands of “beach whistles” wash up on America’s coastlines every year. We are uncertain how this plastic waste ends up on the shore. It is possible that these applicators fall off garbage barges or are part of illegal dumping. It is also possible that women are still trying to flush menstrual products. The consequences for this behavior are dire. It takes approximately twenty-five years for tampon applicators to break down in the ocean, and the microplastic particles live on indefinitely.