David de Rothschild's Plastiki was inspired by Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki

by BardofEly

In 2010, adventurer, author and environmentalist David de Rothschild sailed a catamaran made from recycled plastic and called the Plastiki across the Pacific Ocean.

The Plastiki raised awareness about plastic pollution
Inspired by the late Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his raft the Kon-Tiki, adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild came up with the idea for the Plastiki, a 60 ft katamaran made up entirely from 13,000 recycled plastic water and soft drink bottles.
In true pioneering spirit, Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific Ocean from South America to Polynesia in 1947 to prove that such a journey on a raft was possible, and, in 2009, De Rothschild crossed the same ocean to raise awareness of recycling and the ongoing problem of the pollution of the ocean by plastic rubbish.
The course of the Plastiki iwent past the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a gyre that has accumulated so much plastic that it is said to be the size of Texas. Most of the plastic that ends up in the oceans is thrown away on the land and more is disgarded at sea, but wherever it comes from, it ends up in this disgusting mess, which bears testament to what a terrible state the natural environments have become because of human activities and our lack of care.

Throwaway plastic is a lkiller

Every day tons of plastic are used and thrown away. Only a fraction is recycled. Most of this material ends up in the oceans or elsewhere and badly pollutes the environment.

The planet has no way of coping with this new threat because plastic cannot be  broken down by natural processes apart from being formed into smaller and smaller pieces after it is exposed to sunlight and the ongoing erosion of the elements.

Plastic accumulates poisonous chemicals and when it gets swallowed accidentally by marine life it ends up in sea animals that are eaten in turn by others. Plastic is entering the food chain and that goes all the way up to us!

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Plastic is killing marine life and goes into the food chain

Plastic kills marine life

Did you know that plastic rubbish floating about in the ocean kills all sorts of marine life from turtles to seabirds like the endangered albatross species? The animals mistake plastic bags and plastic objects for food such as jellyfish but when they swallow this rubbish in error it cannot be digested nor passed through them and many die.

Parent birds such as seagulls and albatrosses will try feeding plastic items they have found to their hungry chicks. Imagine what it does to a baby bird that swallows this junk!

And plastic doesn't break down either. It is simply not biodegradeable and consequently even if it is broken into miniscule pieces by the action of the ocean's currents and the process of time, it is still present. Plastic is now ending up as a component of sand. Plastic particles are getting swallowed by marine animals and so this artifical substance is entering the food chain.

David de Rothschild is very concerned about the extremely serious matter of plastic pollution and is also aiming to illustrate what can be done with recycled materials. Plastic, of course, being the example he was demonstrating with the Plastiki.

With a handpicked crew he successfully sailed over the period of three months across10,000 nautical miles on an ocean course all the way from San Francisco in California to Sydney in Australia.

David thinks that the time is over for debate and that action is needed now. He is hoping to inspire individuals, communities and businesses to do something about creating a sustainable use of our shared resources for the future.

I agree with him. If we all do our part it will go a long way to curbing the problems we face from pollution and the destruction of natural habitats and the environment. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could turn this ecological disaster around?

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Plastiki Tour

Updated: 03/22/2013, BardofEly
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