Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Pacific Ocean’s waters are home to 10m (44,000 tonnes) of plastic debris swirling ever-more destructively in the ocean’s currents. Not only is it the largest collection of plastic debris in the world, but it is also completely trapped by North Pacific’s whirling Gyre Currents. Growing incredibly fast and presently covering an area twice the size of the US, it is a prime example of our excessive and thoughtless use of plastics in our everyday lives, and a sad reflection of our hopelessly inadequate methods of dealing with plastic waste.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme over one million seabirds yearly die from plastic and 100,000+ marine mammals are lost to it. There are approximately 46,000 floating plastics per square mile of ocean. It is known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.
The World of the Plastic Beach – Recycling to Save the Sea
1. The research project currently in the design phase was created to look at alternative greener ways to transform the floating plastic into an island – an urban habitat or floating city for around 500,000 people – It is predicted 200 million people will be homeless within the next 30 years due to climate change.
2. The proposal (by Dutch architects WHIM Architecture funded by The Netherlands Architectural Fund) is looking to create a non-polluting island of approximately 10,000sq/km, be built and to convert resources, on the site of the plastic garbage itself. This would reduce clean-up and building costs, creating a new area for agriculture, recreation, tourism and urban living. It would be built on foundations consisting of hollow floating blocks and would lie between Hawaii and San Francisco in the heart of the Pacific Ocean’s currents.
3. Electricity would come from renewable resources like solar, wave, and wind energies. It would be a great place for Seaweed cultivation farms, providing food, fertilizer, bio-fuel, medicine and fish food increasing the fish population around the island habitat. Composting toilets and other crops would help the population living on it to be self-sufficient producing all of its own resources.
4. If the project is to step beyond the design stage and become a reality it will have to function effectively as a sustainable island habitat and it is yet to be decided if a permanent habitable island could even be built from plastic. Would it be solid and strong enough to hold the weight of a population and its crops? And when storms hit what safety measures would need to be in place? This is a fascinating green ventures to consider and stretches the imaginations of architects who will undoubtedly dream up more new ideas as time goes by and enthusiastic designers continue to weigh up the prospects for future habitats using as a base Earth’s vast oceans.