The Great Pacific Garbage patch is the largest concentration of plastic waste on earth. (Photo: recycledisland)
Group plans to turn trash vortex into island eco-paradise
Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 21:50 (GMT + 9)
A Dutch group wants to convert the “world's largest rubbish dump” into a man-made island. The idea is to recycle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located within the North Pacific Gyre, and make it a habitable and self-sufficient island which would take up an area of 10,000 km2.
The Great Pacific Garbage patch, or the Pacific Trash Vortex as it is sometimes known, is the largest concentration of plastic waste on earth, covering an area ranging from the size of Texas to the entire continental United States.
Recycled Island, which would have its own sustainable foods and energy sources, would be located somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii and would make use of this otherwise harmful plastic waste. This far-fetched idea of a floating island nation was dreamed-up by The Netherlands Architecture Fund.
The idea is that the island would be its own nation, with its own laws. It would sustain agriculture using ground made from a combination of seaweed and human manure and use wind, solar or wave energies for power. The project founders say it would be an ideal home for "climate refugees", reports DailyTech.
The project is currently looking to gather samples of the garbage patch. The Netherlands Architecture Fund, along with architecture firm Whim, are attempting to recruit chemists and engineers to help find the ideal way to recycle the waste into usable material for their project.
Although the project may never become reality, mostly due to the cost it implies, it may serve to bring awareness to what is a growing problem. These plastics and the chemicals they harbour can quickly make their way into the food chain, and eventually end up in species used for direct or indirect human consumption, as well as harming marine mammals.
The most recent attempt to bring attention to this problem was activist and Rothschild family member David de Rothschild. He sailed a vessel, the Plastiki, made from 12,000 plastic bottles, 11,000 nautical miles from San Francisco to Sydney.
Ideas such as this one may not be possible or realistic, however the Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t going to disappear by itself. This concept could drive sceptics to find a more practical solution, or simply serve as an inspiring futurist vision.
By Michel Loubet