Pacific Trash Vortex
The Pacific Trash Vortex, via Ocean Defenders

Campaigners are trying to get a floating garbage island the size of France recognised as a country in the North Pacific.

Trash Isles, as the country would be called, is the brainchild of environmental charity Plastic Oceans Foundation and media company LadBible, who are petitioning the United Nations to recognise the plastic mass, which floats off the coast of Hawaii, as the world’s 194th country.

But nationhood isn’t an easy thing to achieve.

Trash Isles flag
Courtesy of Mario Kerkstra / Plastic Oceans Foundation / LadBible

Under Article 1 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention, a country must be able to: define its borders (tricky when it continues to accumulate waste on a daily basis); form a government; interact with other states; and have a permanent established population.

Luckily, environmentalist and ex Vice President of the United States of America Al Gore has volunteered to be Trash Isles’ first citizen. It’s second could be designer Mario Kerkstra, who’s created a tongue-in-cheek flag, passport, stamps and currency for the island (named debris) that feature images of floating garbage.

It might sound far-fetched, but the campaign’s primary goal is to raise awareness of the environmental havoc being unleashed on the ocean. Some eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into it every year – roughly the equivalent of a rubbish truck full every minute.

‘We want to shrink this nation,’ says Gore. ‘We don’t want any more plastic added, so let’s come up with biodegradable materials, instead of this junk. We ought to have a price on carbon, which would also affect the economic attractiveness of plastic.’

Gore also advocates for the introduction of recycling laws which would minimise the amount of plastic being dumped, and increase the amount being reused for new products.

Trash Isles stamps
Courtesy of Mario Kerkstra / Plastic Oceans Foundation / LadBible

Plastic kills over one million seabirds a year, and it’s also started making its way into the human food chain. If current rates of dumping continue, it could outweigh the amount of fish in the ocean by 2050.

Should Trash Isles be formally recognised, it’d be subjected to the same environmental laws governed by the United Nations, meaning the garbage nation would be forced to clean up its act.

[LadBible via Quartz]

Read next: Could Francois Perrin’s ‘Air Houses’ concept take off?

Latest Stories

Latest

Share Tweet
+

Privacy Preference Center

Required Cookies & Technologies

Some of the technologies we use are necessary for critical functions like security and site integrity, account authentication, security and privacy preferences, internal site usage and maintenance data, and to make the site work correctly for browsing and transactions.

gdpr, woocommerce_cart_hash, woocommerce_items_in_cart, _wp_wocommerce_session, sucuri_cloudproxy_uuid_*

Site Customisation

Cookies and similar technologies are used to improve your experience, to do things like:

- remember your login, general, and regional preferences
- personalize content, search, recommendations, and offers

Without these technologies, things like personalised recommendations, your account preferences, or localisation may not work correctly.

wp-settings-*

Personalised Advertising

These technologies are used for things like:

- personalised ads
- to limit how many times you see an ad
- to understand usage via Google Analytics
- to understand how you got to our web properties
- to ensure that we understand the audience and can provide relevant ads

We do this with social media, marketing, and analytics partners (who may have their own information they’ve collected). Saying no will not stop you from seeing our ads, but it may make them less relevant or more repetitive.

_ga, _gid, gat,_gads,_fbp