Most of our modern daily lives and its conveniences rest on the ubiquitous use of plastic. Unfortunately, this product that seemingly made our lives easier has become a major environmental issue, and a threat to the health and well being of the oceans and countless marine creatures.
Every piece of plastic ever made is still on the planet. A plastic sandwich bag takes 50 years to break down. A polystyrene cup has a projected lifetime of 500 years before degrading into small pieces. Plastic toys, plates, and bottle caps can last for centuries.
Project Kaisei (Japanese for “Ocean Planet”) was started by Mary Crowley, founder and director of Ocean Voyages Institute, in an effort to not just talk about the trash in the ocean, but to actually clean it up. Project Kaisei’s focus is on cleaning up the North Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Gyre, the poster child for man-made pollution, is the world’s largest ecosystem and the world’s largest trash dump. Plastics, sludge, and non-biodegradable debris continue to accumulate at this point so that now researchers estimate the pollution to cover thousands of square miles of open ocean.
In August 2009, Project Kaisei embarked on a research mission to collect scientific data and to record the marine debris found in the Gyre. The research teams found alarming amounts of plastics in all of their analysis samples. Thousands of pounds of garbage, consisting of household items such as detergent bottles, toothbrushes and lawn chairs, were pulled out of the ocean. Micro pieces of plastic were found in every water analysis sample. Even more disturbing was the sight of small jellyfish actually eating the plastic.
In 2010, Project Kaisei will set sail on their second expedition to the Gyre to begin collecting significant amounts of the plastic trash and to test recycling methods. Ocean clean-up is the first step, followed by development of sound methods to convert plastic debris into fuel and re-useable products.
We have all contributed to the garbage in the ocean. We can now all contribute to its clean up by reaching out to our communities, families, and friends to raise awareness for the clean ocean initiative and to raise funds for Project Kaisei’s clean up expedition.
The simplest way to prevent plastic from getting to the Gyre is to reduce our plastic consumption. Swap out plastic bags for canvas bags, disposable coffee and beverage cups with travel mugs, plastic utensils with a metal set stashed in an office drawer, and disposable water bottles with an aluminum canister. Make a conscious decision, no matter how small, to reduce your reliance on disposable goods and to switch to reusable goods.
Be a part of the catalyst that started ocean clean up. Action is needed now.
Please join us on Saturday, June 5th, 6:30-11:00pm, for FusionStorm Foundation’s eco-conscious fundraiser “My Ocean Planet”, benefitting Ocean Voyages Institute/Project Kaisei. The event will be held in the upscale Malibu Lumber Yard and guests will enjoy live musical performances, interactive entertainment, premium open bar, celebrity red carpet, VIP lounge, live auction, and a grand raffle featuring a dream yacht vacation to the French Polynesia.
To learn more about the event, purchase tickets, and ways to help, please visit: www.fusionstormfoundation.org.