Late last week a study was published in the journal Scientific Reports that should cause everyone to pause the next time they throw away any nonperishable items. The article pointed to scientific evidence that shows the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is growing in size at a frequency much greater than had previously been estimated. Located between Hawaii and the western coast of North America, the GPGP is a floating mass of about 79,000 metric tons of plastic. According to the study, this statistic is shocking for two primary reasons: The first is that this means the sheer mass of the GPGP is roughly three times the size of France (a country that takes up 248,573 sq. miles). The second, and perhaps more alarming, is that the GPGP continues to grow at an exponential rate, researchers say.
Of course, some prominent environmentalists have been ringing the alarm for years. Last summer, Al Gore wanted to become the first citizen of Trash Isles, a country petitioned to the UN by the environmental charity Plastic Oceans Foundation and the media company LADbible.
But it isn’t only well-known environmentalists who are doing their part to tackle the problem. Some designers are also taking it upon themselves to rid the ocean of harmful debris in the name of high design. Below, AD surveys three examples where some of our most creative minds are focusing their attention on our oceans, and the world will be better off as a result of it.
The Ocean Cleanup
Created by 23-year-old Dutch environmentalist Boyan Slat, the Ocean Cleanup is a foundation that devises a series of technologies that extract plastics from the surface of the ocean at a speedy rate (in comparison to other inventions) all while allowing marine life to pass beneath undisturbed. The engineering school dropout was awarded a spot on Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 list in 2016.
Adidas x Parley
In the summer of 2016, the German footwear company Adidas worked in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans (an organization that brings together designers and leaders to raise awareness of ocean pollution) to design a new pair of shoes dubbed Adidas x Parley. The limited number of shoes featured an upper portion that was made entirely of recycled ocean plastic. The design was symbolically released on June 8 (World Oceans Day) and received high-profile endorsements by athletes such as retired French soccer player (and current Real Madrid coach) Zinedine Zidane, who is sponsored by Adidas and is a supporter of Parley for the Oceans.
Gyrecraft by Studio Swine
Alexander Groves and Azusa Murakami, the husband-and-wife founders of the London-based firm Studio Swine traveled the North Atlantic Ocean in 2014. During their journey, the duo collected plastic debris that was caught up in garbage patches in the ocean. The couple then melted it down and molded it into stunning works of art. In the image above, the innovators intended to mimic the look of a turtle shell with their design.