David de Rothschild Sets Sail on Plastic Ship


Image from the Guardian

In a few weeks David de Rothschild, one of the world's most desirable eco-warriors, will set sail across the Pacific Ocean on a plastic catamaran, called the Plastiki. He will be headed towards the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is a garbage -covered region of the ocean, several hundred miles wide.

He is doing this, along with a crew of six, to alert the world to this hideous "natural" phenomenon which has been collecting there at least since 1999 and is killing seabirds and fish in the area.
Image from franklygreen.com

He will be taking samples and photos and videos of the area to highlight the ocean's plastic pollution problems. The plastic has been swept from coastal cities in Asia and California and is trapped in this vortex of currents that circulate in the area. The fish and seabirds mistake the plastic for food and choke. The albatross population has been destroyed, their "body cavities are full of huge chunks of many types of plastics, from toothbrushes to bottle caps to needles and syringes."

The boat, called the Plastiki, after the famous raft the Kon-Tiki is being built at Pier 31 in San Francisco. It has a hull made of frames filled with 12,000 plastic bottles. The cabin and bulkheads have been made out of recycled PET. Two wind turbines and an array of solar panels will charge a bank of 12-volt batteries, which will power several onboard laptop computers, a GPS and SAT phone. It took 3 years to design the 20 metre boat and has cost several million dollars.

It was supposed to set sail on the anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl's adventure, but the departure has been delayed. It's a dangerous voyage; there will be no accompanying boats although they will be met by a support team at each port of call. They will be travelling 10,500 miles from San Francisco to Hawaii, Bikini Atoll and landing at Sydney, Australia. How will it go? As he says "These are just unknowns," he added. "That's an adventure! If it was planned and everyone knew, no one would be interested."


Image from nakedmaninthetree.wordpress.com

De Rothschild is a fascinating eco-warrior. He is gorgeous, rich and extremely eligible. He has been called an "eco-toff" because he uses his inherited wealth to promote environmental causes. He has written a book on global warming, is a member of Britain's junior eventing (horseback riding) team and has taken part in treks across the Antarctic and Arctic. He also owns an organic farm in New Zealand and founded Adventure Ecology to encourage children's interest in the environment. Plastiki Via : Observer
More on David de Rothschild
TreeHugger Interview: David de Rothschild Part 1
TreeHugger Interview Part 2
The Gallery at Adventure Ecology
Adventure Ecology

Tags: Conservation | Endangered Species | Plastics | Recycling