Sunday, March 02, 2008

Return from the Plastic Soup

We're back on solid ground after an incredible month at sea, 4,000 miles across the Pacific and back...

An unforgettable, exhilarating, and sobering adventure. From witnessing first hand copious amounts of our waste FAR from land, to being chased by a Mako Shark during a night snorkel, to getting engaged atop the boom of the Oceanic Research Vessel Alguita, to experiencing first hand the humbling vastness of our aquatic short, a watershed experience.

We brought back a ton of samples, using the "Manta Trawl" you see Marcus pulling up here - a fine mesh that we drag along the oceans surface. Half our samples will be processed in our lab, to determine the ratios of plastic particles to plankton. 10 years ago, these ratios were 6 to 1 plastic to plankton. Today, by a conservative estimate, they have increased 5 fold.

The other samples we will use for educational purposes, giving them away to educators, policymakers, and the media. The visual impact of actually seeing and touching a sample is profound - "out of sight, out of mind" is no longer an option.

You can see a sample image here - we gave one to Dave Chameides aka "Sustainable Dave", who shot a great little youtube clip for his website. Dave has taken sustainability education on with tireless passion - we'll post his morning KROQ interview soon.

And if you live in town, you can see several of our nastiest samples this Thursday at Green Drinks.

There were far too many images/stories to recount here, so I'll leave you with a few memorable moments from our daily blog:

Our visit to the worlds most polluted beach in tropical paradise;

Passing through an oceanic river of trash;

Experiencing the "plastic soup", not the good food kind....

Hunting for ghost nets, and finding huge schools of fish living under marine debris;

These, and many more, can all be found on our blog, or come chat with us at Green Drinks.

And now, the work begins to share this information with the public, and get our policymakers to kick plASStic! We'll be taking our samples and stories on the road next fall on a West Coast Bike Tour, more about that to come.....

1 comment:

Crafty Green Poet said...

Sounds like you had a very productive time there, its terrible to think of so much waste gathering in the sea like that. There was an excellent documentary on it in the Uk not so long ago. Society is so addicted to plastic its scary.