Captain Planet and the Planeteers Wiki
A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste Part I
Season 4, Episode 01
Bliring (4)
Dr. Blight making the evil ring copies
Air date September 11, 1993
Written by Sean Catherine Derek
Lauren Bright
Episode guide
The Night of the Wolf
A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste Part II

A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste (Part I) is the first episode in the fourth season of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. The story is by Nick Boxer, Sean Catherine Derek and Lauren Bright. The episode is written by Sean Catherine Derek and Lauren Bright.

In this episode we see the return of Captain Pollution, and we learn a little about Ma-Ti's life before he became a Planeteer.


Plot Synopsis[]

Looten Plunder and Sly Sludge are illegally dumping toxic waste. The Planeteers are in the middle of a large argument when Gaia tells them to go and sort the problem out. Within minutes, Gaia returns and tells the Planeteers there has been a nuclear disaster at sea. The Planeteers send Captain Planet to deal with the nuclear spill while they confront Plunder and Sludge.

Plunder and Sludge, however, along with their cronies Argos Bleak, Ooze, and Dave Flusher III, trap the Planeteers in the salt mine where the toxic waste was being dumped. Buried alive, the Planeteers are forced to band together in order to find a way out.

Ma-Ti tells the story of how his parents died, which draws the Planeteers together and inspires them to use teamwork.

Meanwhile, Captain Planet has discovered that his presence, along with the toxic nuclear spill, has caused Captain Pollution to come into being again. Captain Planet is forced to chase Captain Pollution, who sets off several environmental disasters.

The mission continues in A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste Part II.

Episode Summary[]

A ship is battling a ferocious storm. Rain and rolling waves are making things difficult, and thunder and lightning are present.

Looten Plunder and Argos Bleak march out onto the deck, towards Plunder's helicopter. The crew asks for Plunder's help, stating that the sea is too rough. Plunder replies he doesn't care whether or not the waste he is transporting makes it overseas. They take off, heading towards a salt mine, where Sly Sludge is burying toxic waste. Plunder does not appear to have much faith in Sludge, telling Bleak he could "bungle even a simple job, like burying toxic waste."

Through bluer skies, the geo-cruiser is flying erratically, weaving and performing loops. Inside, Wheeler is at the controls, and the other Planeteers are shouting at him to stop. He stops only after Linka threatens to blow him out of his seat.

Gi makes a comment about Wheeler "goofing off" instead of making difficult decisions, and Wheeler replies that there are no pressing problems right now. Gi responds that this means they can get back to basics.

She and Linka wish to fly to California, to help the animals there that have been affected by a recent oil spill.

However, Kwame says he thought that at the first chance they got, they were flying to India in order to plant trees. Linka and Kwame start to argue about which is the more important matter, and the other Planeteers soon join in - except for Ma-Ti, who suggests that everyone is perhaps a little tired.

Gaia interrupts the argument with thunder and flashes of light, and tells the Planeteers that their next mission is on Planet Vision - Sly Sludge is burying toxic waste in a salt mine. Wheeler is not sure he sees the problem, but Gaia tells him that there's a danger of the toxic waste seeping into drinking water and contaminating it for hundreds of miles.

It is obvious there is still tension between the Planeteers, but Gaia refuses to get involved in their previous argument, and leaves. The Planeteers continue to argue as they travel towards the salt mine.

On Plunder's transport ship, the crew are still fighting the storm, but realize they are about to hit the rocks. They are forced to abandon ship, and the ship hits the rocks, causing the drums of toxic waste to fall into the sea. Many of them wash up onto an island and burst open, seeping into the ground.

Gaia reappears and tells the Planeteers that there has been a nuclear waste spill at sea. On the Planet Vision screens, the Planeteers recognize the island as the one where they met Commander Clash and Captain Pollution. They recall the events of Doctor Blight stealing their rings to create opposite powers to their own, which summon Captain Pollution when combined. This can be seen in the episodes Mission to Save Earth Part I and Mission to Save Earth Part II.

Gaia suggests that they send Captain Planet to clean up the island while they continue on to fight Sludge. Captain Planet promises to have the spill cleaned up "in two ticks of a Geiger counter."

At the salt mine, Sludge is losing patience with Ooze, who is apparently doing a bad job of things. A large, muscular (and obviously dim-witted) man arrives, pushing his car up the hill. He wipes sweat from his brow and tells Sludge he answers the newspaper advertisement for "A heinous henchman to serve a Machiavellian master."

The man introduces himself as Dave Flusher III. Ooze immediately assumes that Flusher will be his assistant, but Sludge fires him, telling him that Flusher is his replacement instead. He orders Flusher to kick Ooze out.

However, before anything can happen, the Planeteers arrive. Ooze instantly sees this as trouble, but Sludge appears crafty, muttering to himself about having a "surprise" for the Planeteers. He immediately orders Flusher to hide, and hires Ooze again, telling him to get back to work.

The Planeteers tell Sludge there are there to shut him down, and he instantly gives in, stating he knows better than to argue with them. Ma-Ti is initially suspicious, but Wheeler explains "even the Sly man knows when he's outclassed."

Ma-Ti doesn't believe it's going to be as simple as that and edges back towards the geo-cruiser.

Sludge changes his tune suddenly - ordering Ooze to run the Planeteers down with his forklift. The Planeteers - minus Ma-Ti, who is safe by the geo-cruiser - attempt to run away, but Flusher leaps out at them, cornering them. Ma-Ti runs the geo-cruiser at him, knocking him over. The Planeteers scramble to retreat inside the geo-cruiser, barely making it away in time. Sludge and Ooze both hit the geo-cruiser with their forklifts, but it is still able to take off.

Wheeler and Linka start to argue again with animals vs. trees, but Ma-Ti quickly draws their attention to a new problem: Plunder's helicopter is just above them.

Bleak rams the geo-cruiser, claiming that it won't be long before they're grounded. The Planeteers cry out in alarm. Ma-Ti tries to take evasive action, with the other Planeteers calling out advice and direction. He steers through canyons and around rocks, but Plunder's helicopter flies ahead of them and sends out a stream of thick smoke. Ma-Ti can no longer see.

The geo-cruiser hits a towering column of rock and spins out of control. Linka screams at Ma-Ti to pull up, knowing they are going to crash. The geo-cruiser comes to a rough landing, sliding across the ground.

Meanwhile, Captain Planet has arrived at the scene of the nuclear disaster. He dives beneath the ground in search of lead. As soon as he enters the earth, five points on the ground begin to glow. These are the points where the evil rings created by Doctor Blight were destroyed. Captain Planet has unknowingly reactivated their magic as it was combined with nuclear waste. Captain Pollution reforms.

When Captain Planet arrives above ground again, carrying a large deposit of lead, Captain Pollution punches him away. Captain Planet groans: "Not him again!"

It's soon clear that Captain Pollution is in his element. He creates a tidal wave of nuclear waste, which Captain Planet, obviously weakened, barely evades. Captain Pollution challenges him to play a game he likes to call "Kill the Planet." The object of the "game" is simple - Pollution destroys, and Planet tries to stop him.

Captain Planet is soon struggling against Captain Pollution, who is quick and agile in the toxic environment. Captain Pollution soon zaps Captain Planet with electricity, weakening him enough for Captain Pollution to get a head start. He decides to fly off to heat up the oil fires in Kuwait again.

Meanwhile, the Planeteers are being forced to walk into the salt mine Plunder and Sludge have been using to store waste in. Flusher has hold of Gi and Kwame, Bleak has hold of Wheeler and Ma-Ti, and Sludge has hold of Linka. Suchi follows behind, unrestrained.

Plunder and Bleak tell the Planeteers that since they are so concerned with the toxic waste leaking, the Planeteers are going to keep an eye on it forever.

The Planeteers are pushed down to the ground, and the eco-villains make their escape. Bleak detonates dynamite, caving the mine in and trapping the Planeteers inside. Trying to escape the tunnel as this happens, the Planeteers are thrown backwards, and towering barrels of toxic waste fall. Linka cannot believe that the villains would be so cruel as to bury them alive. The Planeteers despair about not having their powers back yet - and there is no sign of Captain Planet. They wonder what is taking him so long.

Captain Pollution has reached the oil fields and quickly sets about blowing them up, causing lots of toxic smoke. Captain Planet is obviously struggling with the increasing pollution. Meanwhile, Captain Pollution is getting stronger. He abandons the oil fields and goes in search of new fun. Captain Planet puts the fires out and follows the trail of toxic smoke Captain Pollution has left behind.

Inside the mine, Wheeler and Kwame are clearing rocks away from the site of the cave-in. Linka and Gi are attempting to reach a mine shaft higher up. They begin to argue again about which actions will get them out of the mine when Ma-Ti cries out for them to stop.

He tells the Planeteers the story of how his parents died as a result of arguing between villages. His parents sent him away to live with the Shaman due to the danger escalates. Ma-Ti returns to the village to find it in flames. Among the rubble, he discovers the necklace his mother made for his father. Ma-Ti says that the horrible night did end in some good, as it solidified the coalition, and everyone worked together to save both the trees and the animals.

Kwame suggests that he and Wheeler help the girls reach the mine shaft, and Wheeler agrees.

Captain Pollution is flying alongside a train carrying toxic waste. He plans to derail the train and cause yet another environmental disaster. He pushes the train, causing it to go faster. The driver tries to stop, but his efforts are futile. Luckily, Captain Planet arrives, and pushes the train from the front, slowing it down. Captain Pollution burns a bridge they are about to cross, forcing Captain Planet to use huge amounts of energy to stop the train in time. The driver has abandoned the train, jumping out and landing safely on an embankment.

Captain Planet manages to stop the train, but Captain Pollution knocks the train off the bridge anyway, sending it falling towards the river. Captain Planet causes a tidal wave from the river that catches the train gently. He holds the train up, trying to deposit it gently on the shore, but Pollution ruptures one of the tanks holding the toxic weed-killer. Captain Planet is doused in the chemicals, and it obviously weakens him and causes him pain. Pollution, meanwhile, rejoices in the chemicals spilling out, bathing in them happily and gaining strength.

He flies away, and Captain Planet uses his last ounce of strength to plug the leak in the tanker, before tumbling down the embankment into the river, where he slowly sinks.

Back in the mine, Kwame is standing on Wheeler's shoulders, trying to reach the ledge up to the mine shaft Linka and Gi discovered earlier. Wheeler is struggling to hold Kwame's weight. They both fall into a stack of barrels, and soon realize that they've caused them to start leaking fumes into the air.

The episode ends with Linka exclaiming that the fumes are lethal, and Wheeler adding: "We're dead meat!"

The episode is continued in A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste Part II

Planeteer Alerts[]

First Planeteer Alert

Gi: The best thing you can do to help our environment is get involved.
Kwame: Join an environmental group, or join up with friends to start your own projects.
Linka: Clean up a park or a beach. Organize a recycling program at school, or in your neighborhood. And plant trees and remember to take care of them.
Gi: It's all part of making our planet healthy again.
Ma-Ti: We must all work together to protect the animals, trees, oceans and air.
Captain Planet: The power is yours!

Second Planeteer Alert

Gaia: Toxic waste comes from places you may not expect.
Wheeler: Used motor oil.
Gi: Paints, and other common chemicals.
Ma-Ti: Even the batteries in toys!
Gaia: Throwing them in the trash means they'll end up in a dump, where they can contaminate the soil or groundwater.
Captain Planet: Some communities have special centers for disposal of toxic materials. Find out where yours is!
Gaia: And if there isn't one in your area, ask your parents and teachers to get one started!
Captain Planet: The power is yours!

Significant Moments and Facts[]

  • This was the first episode produced under Hanna-Barbera, the first episode under the New Adventures of Captain Planet, and the first episode where the Planeteers have their new outfits and other minor cosmetic changes (example: Linka's slightly different hairstyle).
  • This is also the first episode to feature Margot Kidder as the voice of Gaia. Also starting with this episode David Coburn does the narration in the opening instead of LeVar Burton.
  • According to his newspaper advertisement, Sludge refers to himself as "Mr. Sludge Esquire."
  • Sludge's ad reads: "A heinous henchman to serve a Machiavellian master."
  • Tank Flusher III has a gold tooth.
  • The geo-cruiser is hit by Sludge's and Ooze's forklifts, but it is still able to take off, with Ma-Ti as pilot. Sludge also crashes into Ooze's forklift.
  • There is a shot of the Planeteers cheering in the geo-cruiser after having escaped from Sludge, in which Linka is displayed with Gi's voice.
  • Wheeler does not have his seat belt on when Bleak initially rams the geo-cruiser, but he suffers no ill-effects.
  • Captain Pollution needs nobody to summon him in this episode - he appears after Captain Planet enters the nuclear waste-soaked ground.
  • This is the episode in which Captain Pollution taunts "I'm back!" This catchphrase is used during the new Captain Planet theme song in season 6.
  • Captain Pollution is voiced by David Coburn - the same man who voices Captain Planet.
  • The Kuwait Oil Fires of which Captain Pollution talks occurred in 1991, and burned for months.
  • The title of the episode is spoken by Plunder, in response to Kwame's dismayed question on how he can do something like this.
  • As they are forced further into the mine, Flusher has hold of Gi and Kwame, Bleak has hold of Wheeler and Ma-Ti, and Sludge has hold of Linka. Suchi follows behind, unrestrained.
  • We learn that Ma-Ti is an orphan in this episode. He was raised by the Shaman after his parents were killed.
  • Ma-Ti's father's name was Chico.
  • Ma-Ti keeps his father's necklace in the pocket of his vest.
  • The end credits from Seasons 1-3 are shown.


  • Bleak: Back to the salt mine, Mr. Plunder?
    Plunder: Yes, and step on it, Bleak. That simpleton Sludge could even bungle a simple job, like burying toxic waste.
  • Wheeler is performing stunts while flying the geo-cruiser.
    Gi: Stop!
    Ma-Ti: Level up, Wheeler!
    Linka: Enough!
    Wheeler: Yahoo! (performs another turn, and the Planeteers cry out again.)
    Linka: Level up, Yankee, or I swear I will blow you right out of your seat!
    Wheeler: Man, you guys are no fun.
  • Kwame: Wait a minute. I thought we were going to India to plant trees, first chance we got.
    Linka: How can you think about trees when animals are suffering?
    Kwame: Without trees, everything will suffer.
    Wheeler: Yeah, especially people!
    Gi: But people have choices! Animals are victims.
    Kwame: Don't you understand that animals need trees as much as people do?
    Linka: All your little saplings will be big help to a gull suffocating right now in toxic goo!
    Kwame: But that is short-term thinking! We must look at the big picture!
    Ma-Ti: Wait! It is all important. Perhaps we are a little tired.
    Kwame: Trees are homes to the animals.
    Linka: The wildlife needs us now!
    Gi: Birds are dying!
    Gaia interrupts the arguing Planeteers with a show of thunder and light.
    Gaia: Time out! If you had checked Planet Vision, you'd already know your next assignment.
  • As Kwame, Linka, Gi and Wheeler continue to argue:
    Ma-Ti: Oh, it is going to be a long day.
  • Ma-Ti: Isn't it terrible that Sludge would poison the Earth?
    Gi: Yeah, but at least there aren't any animals at risk.
    Kwame: Or trees!
    Gaia: Pardon me for butting in on your eco-argument, Planeteers, but there's been a nuclear waste spill at sea.
  • Captain Planet: Don't worry, Planeteers! I'll have that spill cleaned up in two ticks of a Geiger-counter!
  • Ooze: My own assistant, boss?
    Sludge: Wrong! Your replacement. You're fired!
  • Wheeler: All right, Sludge, the party's over!
    Gi: We're shutting you down!
    Sludge: Okay, okay! I know better than to argue with you. I'll just pack it in.
    Ma-Ti: (whispering to Wheeler) It does not seem like Sludge to give in so easily...
    Wheeler: Come on, Ma-Ti! Even the Sly man knows when he's outclassed.
  • Ooze is driving a forklift towards the Planeteers, but Wheeler is confident, forgetting he no longer has his Firepower.
    Wheeler: Well, if it isn't the wizard of Ooze!
  • Linka: This is going to take longer than we thought. I guess the animals will have to wait.
    Wheeler: You mean the trees, don't you?
    Ma-Ti: Uh, could you stop long enough to help me with a problem?
    Planeteers: What?
    Plunder's helicopter slams into the geo-cruiser from above.
  • Captain Planet: Wow, that' a nasty nuclear brew. Looks like it's time to get the lead out!
  • Captain Planet emerges from beneath the ground with a large deposit of lead.
    Captain Planet: Now to foil this pollution!
    Captain Pollution: Can I give you a hand, bro? (punches Captain Planet, who goes flying through the air.)
    Captain Planet: Not him again!
    Captain Pollution: I'm back!
  • Captain Pollution: Wave bye-bye, Captain-Pain-in-the-Butt!
  • Captain Pollution is taunting Captain Planet.
    Captain Pollution: You're the next contestant in a little game I like to play. It's called "Kill the Planet." Pun intended! It's really simple - I destroy, and you try and stop me! Sounds pretty fun, huh? Now, where to start? I know! The oil fires in Kuwait. I'll heat them up again.
    Captain Planet: Something tells me I'm gonna hate this game.
  • Kwame: How can you do this to the land?
    Plunder: Haven't you heard? A mine is a terrible thing to waste. Since you enviro-meddlers are so concerned about this toxic waste leaking...
    Bleak: We're gonna let you keep an eye on it - forever!
  • Linka: I cannot believe it! Those barbarians buried us alive!
  • Shooting electricity at the oil rigs:
    Captain Pollution: I'm a lootin', tootin', high-pollutin' son-of-a-bum from pow, pow! (blows the end of his shooting finger) Am I hot or what?
    Captain Planet: This oil field's not big enough for both of us. I'm running you in.
    Captain Pollution: Go ahead... make my day.
  • Wheeler and Kwame are clearing rocks, and Linka and Gi are trying to reach a mine shaft.
    Wheeler: Hey! How about a little help over here?
    Linka: We do not have a week!
    Gi: Yeah, why don't you help us get up to that shaft?
    Wheeler: Oh, right, we'll just fly up there.
    Linka: Bozhe moy, do not be such a wise-guy, Wheeler! Just help us!
    Wheeler: Oh, hail to the queen!
  • Ma-Ti: All this arguing leads nowhere! I know. I have seen it...
    Ma-Ti's flashback begins:
    Ma-Ti: My father's people and my mother's village could not see eye-to-eye. It cost many their lives, and some, even more. My father and mother's people each worked for sustainable use of the forest. But they did not always work together.
    Man: Chico, I do not trust those Indians.
    Villager: It is you white men who are always breaking your promise!
    Chico: Please, friends, we have worked in harmony with this land too long. The forest is our life!
    Developer: All of you clear out of here!
    The crowd disperses, with each side grumbling about the other. Ma-Ti stands as a young child beside his father, Chico. Chico approaches the developer standing by the bulldozers.
    Chico: It is not over!
    Developer: Be careful, Chico. We have ways of dealing with trouble-makers like you.
    Nighttime, and Ma-Ti's parents are talking gently to him:
    Mother: Ma-Ti, try to understand...
    Little Ma-Ti: No, I will not go!
    Chico: Son, it is not safe for you to stay here. You must go and live with the Shaman until the danger passes.
    Little Ma-Ti: But, if it is dangerous, you and Momma must come too!
    Chico: Your mother and I cannot run. We must stay as an example of the coalition.
    Mother: Indians and rubber-tappers must stand united. Saving the forest is the most important thing.
    Shaman: Come, Ma-Ti. It is time to go.
    Little Ma-Ti: Yes, grandfather.
    Chico: Remember, my son... No matter the odds, you must always follow your heart.
    Ma-Ti nods and hugs his parents for the last time before following the Shaman out the door. Once he is out of sight, his parents cry.
    That night, Ma-Ti and Shaman are sleeping up on a cliff overlooking the village, Ma-Ti awakes and sees the village burning. He screams, and he and the Shaman hurry down to help the villagers, but they are too late.
    Ma-Ti: We ran as fast as we could, but by the time we got there, it was too late. I thought my heart would break when I found my father's necklace. My mother had made it for him. I never saw my parents again. But that horrible night solidified the coalition. The people all worked together to stop the clear-cutting and save the trees - and the animals!
  • Captain Pollution is flying alongside a train carrying toxic waste:
    Captain Pollution: Woah, the speed this guy's going, he may not need any help derailing. But then, where would the fun be? It's just amazing. One little choo-choo, and a few thousand gallons of weed-killer, can trigger such a lovely train of events!
  • Captain Pollution is bathing in toxic chemicals:
    Captain Pollution: Ahh, I needed a good shower! I was starting to feel - bleurgh! Clean!
  • Wheeler and Kwame have fallen after trying to reach a high ledge.
    Wheeler: Well, that was a bust.
    Gi: For real.