The Plastic Problem has created 5 gyres of Plastic floating in the ocean. We are currently working on several solutions including one from a 23 year old kid!
Written, Edited & Filmed by Krish Mohan
So we’ve talked about burning our trash to decrease the use of landfills. And there are quite a few people against the idea. It does take a lot of effort to put provisions in place to ensure that incinerators don’t affect the environment negatively. “But what about the smell Krish?! What about the smell!?! And it’s not vegan you monster!” Ok, relax. No one is saying that burning trash is THE answer.
Look there are certain things that shouldn’t be burned. Bridges are probably the most important thing NOT to burn. Our infrastructure is not doing great, so we should not burn any literal or metaphoric bridges! Home. Don’t burn that! That’s where you heart is! It’s an irresponsible thing to do!
Plastics should also not be burned! And we’ve all experimented with setting plastic bottles on fire and then gotten dizzy and thought we talked to God in our kitchens, but in reality it was just the paramedics. Now some of us go on realizing the true dangers of plastics, but others go onto huffing paint to Nitrus and never get to the real self discovering drugs. Plastic is a gateway polymer. A gateway to increased ignorance.
Aside from diminishing neurons, plastics do pose a large problem in the world. Currently there are 5 gyres of plastic in the ocean. I know the idea of 5 gyres to American ears sounds like the new special at Applebees, but I promise you this is not safe to eat. In fact animals do eat the plastic, think they’re full and then die. Ok, so in that respect it’s not that different from Applebees food, but at least Applebee’s food wasn’t created in a lab. I know there’s no way of proving that either, but I think you get the point.
The most famous of these is the Giant Pacific Garbage Patch, which is said to be the size of Texas. That’s the only way for Americans to understand the size of anything. Compare it to Texas. To understand the enormity of the plastic problem it’s like the size of at least 7 Texases and maybe even one Oklahoma.
Now these sound like islands full of plastic, but they aren’t…yet. These gyres are areas where the plastic trash is floating around in the ocean are spread out through this giant area and get caught in the current that swirls them around. So basically the beginnings of a dumpster hurricane. Eventually it could merge into 5 giant plastic islands. Which would be the Height Of Human Hubris, if we did this deliberately, which we probably did.
“Oh the Earth gets to make its own islands! NOT ON OUR WATCH! Someone call Shell and Exxon, I have a new way for them destroy the lives of marine creatures. Maybe that’ll get those lazy bastards out of the water and evolve so they can fight in our armies and dig up oil for us to make more plastic so we can become the most redundantly suicidal species on the planet!”
And maybe that’s what corporations are waiting for. Corporations love waiting for disaster to capitalize from. And this is one of those disasters. They will wait till the plastic starts coalescing into one so they can turn the Giant Pacific Garbage Patch into the Giant Pacific Amusement Patch! Or if we double down on this dystopia, the Giant Pacific Prison Patch! And this is the reason why humans love plastic, because it’s something WE made that Nature can’t destroy! It’s shows our dominance over a force we don’t truly understand! This is basically why we all hate Kylo Ren. He’s the plastic of the Star Wars mythos.
The plastic that winds up in the ocean doesn’t go anywhere. It weakens and breaks down into microplastics. This where things get really bad. The microplastics are eaten by fish or turtles and eventually pass up the food chain and wind up in us. It’s like we’re being conditioned to eat our own plastic because if we don’t do anything about this issue that’ll be the last resort. Instead of burning trash, we’ll be eating our own trash in the darkest version of recycling to date!
So what do we do about this? There is an idea of using bacteria to eat this plastic. At first glance this sounds like a great idea! But if we introduce a new bacterial species to ocean we have no idea what that will do to the ecosystem. Maybe that’s where Godzilla or the Kaiju’s come from! Species reintroduction usually never pans out. It leads to invasion.
This is just a way for humans to control invasions. It’s like one of our favorite things in the whole world. From European Imperalism, to the American Empire and now using science to invade the ocean, when will it stop?!
It’s like introducing thousands of Bulls on Wall St. Which would be hilarious to show bankers what really happens when you take a bull by the horns. Or introducing humans to anywhere. That concept is why I’m against us flying out into space to colonize another planet. We are an invasive species.
There’s also a 23 year old kid that has a plan to use the oceans currents to collect this plastic and get it out of there. He started this project when he was 19! And you were excited that you got laid when you were 19, this guy is here to ensure that YOUR 19 year old can get laid!
Boyan Slat dropped out Aeronautics schooling to creating his V-shaped nets that are able to catch these micro-plastics. Then it’s taken back to land where it is recycled. His prototypes and testing was done by crowdsourcing and people donating their pools and spaces to him to try and fix this problem!
Which means you can’t really depend on corporations to do much about the problems they are a part of. It’s like telling your child to clean up their room and then take a shit in the furnace. But people will be on board because they want the future of the species to be better than one Garbage Patch let alone 5! Which means there’s 35 Texases worth of plastic in the ocean and none of them have an Austin. It’s all Dallases!
This barrier will anchored above water since most plastics float, and marine life can just swim under it. This system is currently in the prototype phase but Boyan is expecting to scale up by 2019. Once this is collected Slat has turned the collected plastic into the cover of his book, among things as well as back into oil for fuel.
That’s an ingenious idea. Why not just take all the plastic shit we have and turn it back into oil for fuel and then just make things out of a less shitty substance! I’ll use an old adage here. We can put a man on the moon but we can’t figure out a better substance than plastic? Ok, we’re not really putting folks on the moon anymore. But that’s because so much of our oil is used to make plastic shit so you can save a dollar on a coffee at the Shell gas station! And let’s be honest, the moon is a little scared we’re going to invade it for oil on false pretenses.
Now Boyan does have ideas on how to decrease the amount of plastic in our waterways, but this is doesn’t really solve our problems with what to do with the overwhelming amount of plastics and waste in our landfills. And to be fair, he’s only 23! Wait till he’s 50. And when he’s 75 he’ll solve a third of world’s problem while our kids are still trying to get laid for the first time! It takes time to destroy the planet, so it’ll take some more time to fix it, and probably more than just one 23-year old, who’s the size of ⅕ of a Texan.