Posts Tagged ‘marine debris’

Crossing the Pacific in a Plastic Bottle Boat

Three cheers for the crew of the Plastiki, a 60-foot catamaran made from over 12,000 recycled plastic bottles:

Photo courtesy of AFP.com

The Plastiki just completed a 4-month journey across the Pacific Ocean, traveling from San Francisco, CA to Sydney, Australia … all in the name of plastic pollution awareness.

Along the way, Plastiki crew members endured rough weather and giant waves, and sailed by the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” formed by millions of pounds of plastic debris that have clustered together in the water.

Last spring, we shared the story of a similar vessel – JUNKraft – that sailed from California to Hawaii to raise awareness for the same environmental issue.  In the 2 years since JUNKraft made its journey, the “garbage patch” has continued to grow … indicating that there’s still more work to be done in controlling and reducing the plastic pollution problem.

Sailing the seas to create awareness is good … even better would be to sail the seas to create positive impact.  Anyone have a design idea for a plastic bottle boat equipped with a vacuum attachment?  If you’re going to make the journey, might as well pick up some trash along the way.

Water, Water Everywhere …

In August 2008, Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal, members of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, set sail from Los Angeles for Honolulu on “JUNKraft” – a vessel created using 15,000 plastic bottles and a Cessna 310 – in the name of plastic pollution awareness.

Along their 2,600 mile, 3-month journey, Marcus and Joel skimmed the ocean surface for marine debris – and came away with 100 samples of visual proof of the toxic soup being cooked up by the pervading presence of plastic in our oceans.

“It gives me a profound sense that there is no place and no life form on earth that isn’t being affected by the onslaught of synthetic chemicals that humans are releasing into the environment.”

- Joel Paschal

To follow the path and read more about JUNK’s journey and discoveries, visit www.junkraft.com.  And keep your eye out for the JUNKriders as they embark on a cycling / speaking tour from Vancouver, BC to Tijuana, Mexico this spring to continue spreading the word about plastic marine debris impact.