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04/03/2013

Garbage Patch, the newest country

Garbage
This photo is of Manila harbour. (Photo courtesy of Clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on Facebook.)

Meet Garbage Patch, the newest country in the world.

It is made of trash, is as large as maybe even Texas and is in the middle of the ocean. Oh, and it’s severely under-populated. Actually, no one lives in Garbage Patch, no man, no animal.

Okay, Garbage Patch is not really a country but to focus on monumental examples of man-made pollution, the United Nations’ cultural and science agency UNESCO will designate the conglomerations of rubbish a veritable territory of its own.

And so on April 11, the world will welcome a new ‘state” to be named Garbage Patch, reports La Stampa, the Italian paper.

“Garbage Patch comprises five areas of man-made rubbish in the seas: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Indian Ocean. The largest, discovered in 2009, is called the Great Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex. Marine currents bring the rubbish together, swirling to the surface. The garbage gets broken down, thanks to photo degradation, into smaller and smaller pieces that are consumed by marine life, reentering the food chain,” says the La Stampa report.

Italian architect Maria Cristina Finucci has reportedly led the effort to get the UNESCO state designation. The official Facebook page declares that Garbage Patch will be a federal state with a population of 36,939 — tonnes of garbage.

Oh, its flag will be blue, like the oceans it pollutes.

“I found out about the tragic islands made of plastic, but they were treated lightly by the scientific community,” Finucci told La Stampa.

Finucci believes that in creating a state, people will become more aware.

“The only thing we can do now is to stop them from getting bigger,” she said.

Garbage Patch’s inauguration ceremony will not take place on any of the islands but at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. There will be bottle caps on the floor, plastic bags all over and the sound of waves in the background.

Quite fitting.

Raveena Aulakh is the Star's environment reporter. She is intrigued by climate change and its impact, now and long-term. Follow her on Twitter @raveenaaulakh

Comments

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This is only the stuff that floats - what are we doing below the surface - talk about fouling your own nest!

The cruise ship I was on 15yrs ago threw out their garbage out a door close ot water line where no one could see it. My wife and I saw it as a trail miles long of garbage bags about 20' apart as far as you could see. we complaigned ot an officer and he said international law allowed it. Basically he didn't care.

Would a recycling operation clean it up and help fund some of the cleanup? If so, it should be done. It would create long-term jobs and undue one human wrong.

I don't think that I would like to see Jobs created for this. I would rather see it cleaned once for all and all of us stop using any kind of material that will not desintegrated during our own life.

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