Solid Waste & Recycling

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JUNK RAFT SAILS TO HAWAII

Two eco-mariners have sailed a raft built of junk to help call attention to a major oceanic environmental problem -- the accumulation of plastic trash in the seas. The huge volume of plastic litter no...


Two eco-mariners have sailed a raft built of junk to help call attention to a major oceanic environmental problem — the accumulation of plastic trash in the seas. The huge volume of plastic litter now drifting in the oceans interrupts the feeding of marine life (birds choke on plastic trash, plankton ingest microscopic particles of plastics) and plastics release toxins into the water. In the North Pacific Gyre, north of Hawaii, there is now more plastic, by weight, than plankton. It’s a huge region of circling currents that concentrate the debris, thousands of miles from land.

The Algalita Marine Research Foundation sponsor of the voyage, is studying the problem. An increasing number of environmental groups are backing legislation to cut back on the use of disposable plastics. Heal the Bay, another major sponsor of the voyage, currently runs a major program on the problem of plastics in the sea. The journey is intended to help call attention to these projects.

The vessel departed June 1, 2008 from Long Beach Aquarium in California and arrived in Ala Wai Harbor, near Honolulu, Oahu at the end of August. The craft was piloted by two mariners: Dr. Marcus Eriksen, Joel day). The crew brought several months supply of food, supplemented Paschal, with Anna Cummins as ground support. The raft is 30 feet with mahi mahi and squid caught along the way. After nearly three long, built on six pontoons filled with 15,000 plastic bottles; the deck months at sea, none of the 15,000 plastic bottles showed much sign of is made of salvaged sailboat masts, and the cabin is the fuselage of a wear and tear, indicating how incredibly durable these plastic are that Cessna airplane. The vessel has four sails and can make 90 degrees wash into the sea. headway into the wind (roughly 2 knots, equals about 50 miles per Visitwww.junkraft.comorwww.algalita.org


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