On Saturday Plastiki, a boat made of 12,000 plastic bottles, set sail from San Francisco on its 11,000 mile voyage to Australia. Plastiki is a unique 60 ft catamaran made of post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and other recycled plastic materials. The main purpose of the voyage is to raise awareness of marine pollution.
On its route Plastiki will sail across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive sea of rubbish floating just below the ocean surface between California and Hawaii. Stretching over an area the size of the continental US, the Garbage Patch is estimated to contain up to 100 million tones of trash. Most of the refuse consists of small particles, held in suspension just below the water’s surface. It is therefore hard to depict the scale of the problem with a simple photograph, so research together with high profile voyages like Plastiki’s are needed.
You can track the crews’ progress here; and read their blog guilt free, as their laptops are powered by an exercise bike.
(This page has “Fact: Roughly 50% of all plastic products end up in the ocean”. This seems very high to me – I can’t imagine a mechanism that would allow so much plastic would get from our landfills to the sea. Perhaps they mean 50% of all marine refuse is plastic. If anyone finds a source let us know in the comments)