David de Rothschild's boat The Plastiki completed its epic journey
The Plastiki boat of plastic ends its voyage
David de Rothschild's epic voyage on a plastic catamaran made from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles ended in success when the boat reached its final destination in Sydney Harbour on 26 July..
David and his crew, with Jo Royle as captain, had set off from San Francisco back in March, 2010, with the intention of crossing the Pacific Ocean and reaching Australia. Now they have achieved what they set out to do.
The aim of the Plastiki Expedition
David de Rothschild's aim in making this voyage was to draw public attention to the very great danger to marine life and the environment from the pollution caused by plastic. Over 80% of the rubbish floating in the seas is plastic and what is worse is that it does not break down or bio-degrade. Plastic just breaks into smaller and smaller fragments that eventually become particles the size of sand or smaller.
Plastic accumulates poisons and thus ends up in the food chain when eaten by marine animals. Ultimately these poisons end up in us.
Plastic bags swallowed by turtles and whales can kill these wonderful animals and plastic trash swallowed by sea birds and fed to their chicks kill the baby birds. Most albatrosses have swallowed plastic and thousands of babies have died after eating plastic.18 of the 22 recognised species of these magnificent birds are threatened with extinction.
In some places in the ocean there are six parts of plastic particles to one of natural plankton. Sea creatures are eating this poisonous rubbish and are also starving because of a lack of natural foods that should be there.
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
There are five gyres in the oceans that accumulate plastic trash and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is one of these, is estimated to be bigger than the size of the State of Texas. That is an awful lot of plastic!
David de Rothschild set out to raise awareness about the ongoing danger from plastic refuse in the sea and the Plastiki went past the area in which the Great Pacific Garbage Patch lies. They had originally intended going through it but had to change course due to wind and weather conditions at the time.
Nevertheless, the Plastiki and its crew have succeeded in reaching their final destination and in getting their message heard. Millions of people who had never heard of these oceanic "garbage patches" now know about them. Millions of people who didn't realise that thrown away plastic is killing the animals in the sea are now aware of this.
The four Rs
David is hoping that people will cut down on their use of single-use throwaway plastic and to abandon the use of plastic if possible. He is calling for the three R's to be put into practice: Re-use, Recycle and Refuse. Adding a fourth R he is asking us to Rethink!
The Plastiki was kept afloat by the 12,500 re-used and recycled plastic water bottles. These bottles are one of the main sources of pollution in the oceans, and one answer is to buy and use a stainless steel drinking bottle that can be refilled instead of buying water in bottles.
David de Rothschild said that he would be using his name and this expedition to get the story into the world's media and he has succeeded. Millions of people worldwide have been following the voyage via Internet sites about the Plastiki and via very many articles and interviews that have gone out on TV, on the radio and in newspapers and magazines.
David is still doing more interviews about his mission and although the Plastiki reached its destination this does not mean that everything ends but, as David says: "the Plastiki acting as a metaphor for change will continue."
A big Thank You to all our Followers!
Plastiki and David de Rothschild links
© 2010 Steve Andrews
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