With our current rate of consumption, plastic will most likely outnumber fish in the ocean by 2050. Piles of garbage roughly the size of France floating about in the Northern Pacific have spurred entertainment and news site LADbible and Plastic Oceans Foundation to partner up and start a movement to name the garbage piles an internationally-recognized, sovereign country. Together, the two companies will send a letter to the United Nations’ Secretary General António Gueterras to recognize the gathering of garbage as the Trash Isles. They have already submitted a Declaration of Independence to the UN, but are currently recruiting volunteers to declare themselves citizens, or “Trash Islanders,” to pressure the UN into approving their application and recognizing the Trash Isles.
Their motivation is that, according to the UN’s Environmental Charter: “All members shall co-operate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the earth’s ecosystem.” As such, if the Trash Isles becomes a member state in the UN, other countries will be obliged to clean it up.
“This indestructible material upsets every level of the food chain,” says Sarah Roberts, one of the founding Trash Islanders. “If our oceans can’t function properly, they won’t be able to support fish stocks, absorb carbon to protect us against global warming or generally do any of the things that our lives are dependent on.”
The group has created a petition on Change.org, where they are currently rallying founding citizens to make them eligible to send their letter requesting recognition as a state to the UN. They are still 40,000 short of gathering the required 150,000 number of citizens. To promote their idea, they have designed banknotes of their currency, which they call “debris,” in addition to post stamps, passports and a flag.
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