The Plastiki sets sail…

David de Rothschild, host of Sundance Channel’s ECO-TRIP, is no stranger to adventure: he’s traveled to both poles, and was part of a team that broke the record for crossing the Greenland ice cap. On Saturday, he set off on another adventure: de Rothschild and crew sailed out of San Francisco on the Plastiki, a 60 ft. catamaran built primarily from recycled plastics (including 12,000 bottles).

The purpose of this 11,000-mile trip to Sydney, Australia? To highlight the health of the world’s oceans… and plastic’s role in harming marine ecosystems. Among the facts the sailors hope to bring to wider attention:

  • Most marine debris consists of plastic… 60 to 80% of it.
  • That plastic pollution kills: according to Project AWARE, “Scientists estimate that every year at least 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die when become entangled in plastic pollution or ingest it. “
  • Much of that pollution could be easily avoided: in the U.S., only about 20% of recyclable plastics actually get recycled.

de Rothschild himself presents even more reasons for concern about plastics in our oceans at the Huffington Post today.

Follow the Plastiki online

While there’s almost certain to be a film about the voyage (National Geographic filmmaker Max Jourdan and Myoo Media’s Vern Moen are also on board), you can experience much of the Plastiki’s trip across the Pacific in real time: the website for the journey features a blog, a “control center” that tracks the team’s progress, and even a Twitter feed.

I’m pretty stoked about this voyage… seems like a great way to bring attention to issues surrounding the well-being of ocean environments. We’d love to hear your thoughts on de Rothschild’s efforts to highlight marine pollution…


Image credit: Courtesy of Luca Babini