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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Something Plastic: in The Ocean.

Thinking about the flexibility of the minds of youth, I mentioned to my nephew a problem - plastic in the ocean, loads and loads and loads and tons of it.  It seems a good idea for everybody to brainstorm and suggest solutions, since the majority of us contributed to the problem.  My husband instantly volunteered an idea, which you can read at the end of this post.

The plastic was something that crept into my life when I read Alan Weisman's The World Without Us, not the sort of book I normally escape into - but the sort that jangles like an old-fashioned alarm clock.  That was several years ago and my interests drifted to happier things.

Still, the plastic is out there - floating in the ocean - and the idea of it creeps up again and again.  You see plenty of information about it online... The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the Eastern and Western Garbage Patches. There are various theories even about what the something-plastic should be named or called. Maybe calling it the "great" anything is not such a great idea... "hideous" is more appropriate.  

Now, attempting to put a positive spin on the matter of this something-plastic (which was my intention in mentioning the problem to my nephew too): What do you suggest we do about the plastic in the ocean?  This is, after all, not just a blog about art and fashion - but also a blog about creative-thinking.  Maybe sometimes the best creative-thinking is applied to the ugliest-of-situations.  Creative thinking solves problems.

If you're ready for this Something-Plastic-Challenge, read about marine debris here and here, then leave a comment with your suggestions - even if your idea has some flaws or aspects you can't quite resolve, it may contain a spark of genius.

For a start, here's my husband's Something-Plastic Solution.  After reading information at the above links, I see some aspects of it are feasible - but not all.  The "garbage patch" is not as clearly defined as it may sound, also - there are precious sea creatures living among our garbage we've created.  But, we have to start somewhere:

"Create a barge city, especially for this purpose, to float alongside the plastic-polluted area - working for 20 years, until it consumes the debris.  The barge city would act as a giant insect - eating away at and recycling the plastic.  Gnawing the plastic with suction or rakes, possibly melting the plastic - this recycling plant would extrude plastic pipe or chips - raw and in a usable form, for roads or other purposes."
I like my husband's idea of using recycled plastic-chips in roads, because that confines the plastic, fixing it in place (think of terrazzo) and prevents it from returning to the ocean. Other methods of recycling plastic, such as creating more containers - still leave the problem unresolved.