Plastic in the Pacific
Strong ocean currents cause huge islands of plastic to form in convergence zones in the world’s oceans. According to conservative estimates, some 60 million tonnes of plastic, measuring over one million square kilometres, are floating in the Pacific Ocean, north of Hawaii. This very diverse plastic soup is a massive threat to flora and fauna. The quantity doubled between 1999 and 2004 and continues to increase at rapid pace. It’s nobody’s problem yet it affects us all!
The premise of this project is that the problem should be tackled and solved where it arose. The plastic is not seen as waste but as a durable raw material that forms the basis for an island. This island (actually a raft) has three functions:
1. Collecting the plastic (basis for a business case),
2. Separating the plastic and turning it into basic products,
3. Housing residents and workers.
The ‘context-less’ situation and the goal of creating a degree of autonomy makes the project a terrific opportunity for businesses and agencies to make new and unexpected contacts. That will undoubtedly lead to surprising outcomes.
The plastic is a huge threat to the environment. Ecosystems are disrupted and many birds and fish eat the plastic and die from poisoning or from debilitation caused by a stomach full of plastic. Larger animals are liable to simply choke to death. People, too, are at risk because in eating the fish they absorb the toxic substances. This ever-expanding ‘waste mountain’ must be removed from the ocean!
After dredging up and separating the plastics, the waste can be recycled for new products. These simple products can be used to achieve the millennium goals. The construction of schools and clinics, the installation of sewers and toilets, the realization of potable water projects: there are dozens of projects in which plastic products like plastic pipes, beams, wells and bricks could be used.
film: Plastic Island