Monday, July 26, 2010

Bottle Boat Completes Its Mission

Cruise 8,000 nautical miles on a boat made of 12,500 recycled bottles? Check.

The Plastiki completed its journey earlier today from San Francisco to Sydney after more than 130 days at sea. During the trip, environmentalist David de Rothschild and his crew sailed by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a floating dump of plastic litter as big as the state of Texas – in order to bring attention to plastic waste in oceans.

While the voyage of the Plastiki has achieved its goal of bringing awareness to this issue, the boat and its crew had a sort of unexpected competition from another mess in our waters – one that involved casualties, was closer to home, and seemed to catch us all by surprise.

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded less than 30 days after the Plastiki launched from San Francisco. The BP disaster killed 11 and injured 17 others, then went on to flood the Gulf with 100s of millions of gallons of oil while leaving the region void of seafood, tourism, fishing and oil jobs for who knows how long. Then, finally, thankfully, the leak was capped – at least temporarily – just a week before the completion of the Plastiki’s journey. Just in time to steal headlines away from the Plastiki again.

Perhaps instead of taking away from the extraordinary efforts of the Plastiki, when discussing the BP oil mess, journalists should also remind us all of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Perhaps we should consider the two news item together and look at the plight of our world’s waters as a whole. Heck, we could even throw the China oil spill in there. With simultaneous oil disasters on opposite sides of the planet, and an enormous pile of plastic floating somewhere in the middle, would THIS be a good time to think about the extensive, preventable damage that is happening to our oceans? What a mess!

More on the Plastiki: www.theplastiki.com

More on the Gulf Oil Disaster: www.RestoretheGulf.gov

###