by Wallace J. Nichols, Sarah Kornfeld and Andy Myers
Finally, after days, weeks, and months -- OK, hours -- in the making, we've selected the "Top 5 Superbad! Awesome! Plans for Cleaning Up all that Plastic" that Americans love and need so much from the place where much of it ends up -- the ocean!
And, just so you can be assured that these Top 5 are really the very BEST Top 5 we can find, we want you to know that our distinguished panel of experts included voices from Dow, BP, almost every government on the planet, a global supermarket chain, lots of toy makers, a big PR firm, a really big bottled water pusher, and a really, really big soda megamultinational.
So here they are, our Top 5 Superbad! Awesome! Plans for Cleaning up Plastic in the Ocean!
5. SUCK IT: Yes, in development right now are Electrolux vacuum cleaners that WILL suck up the junk. Governments and people alike will be able to use these amazing products to just suck it up. Yup, just suck the plastic and away it goes! Actually, that's not quite right, these vacuums won't actually suck up the plastic from the ocean, they'll just be made (at least some percentage, anyway) of plastic from the ocean. Sounds great in theory, right? Only problem is: this will make a ball-peen-hammer-sized dent on the problem, but it will raise awareness of the issue among the hard-to-reach, über-influential vacuum cleaner market. And reinforce the circular logic that, if we just buy more designed-for-obsolescence plastic stuff, we'll feel OK because we'll be doing our small part. Brilliant!
4. LIVE ON IT: With population growth, massive layoffs, and homelessness on the rise, some have suggested gathering plastic from the sea to build a really big island of plastic for people to live on! No need to ever buy a plastic product again, now you can live on it, in it, and with it! Free seasickness patches included with each condo. Superbad!
3. EAT IT: Then there's the coalition of leading petrochemical conglomerates who created an amazing new product -- a global army of plastic-eating bacteria! This will work, right? Just look at how well our massive destroy-the-village-to-save-it solutions, like 2 million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersants on oil in the Gulf of Mexico, have worked. Genetically modified bacteria are a step in the right direction: let's sic them on plastic all over the planet! One small caution: This technology has been thoroughly tested by exactly one high school science fair award winner, but, then again, it has been hyped by the media, so it must be ready for primetime, right? Awesome!
2. STRAIN IT: Promising to do for plastic what colanders did for pasta, introducing ... The Mongo! Though scientists estimate that there are a mere thirteen-gazillion bits of micro-plastic in the ocean, a consolidated team of petroleum companies will launch a flotilla of 1,000 ships -- or, if you're game, just ten whale-sized vessels -- all powered by petroleum, of course, and using fabulous new 500-foot-by-500-foot "Mongo" filters to STRAIN it from the water! Once scooped, all those tiny little bits of plastic -- and the ocean life that comes with them -- can be converted into oil, condos (see #4) and vacuum cleaners (see #5). See, we told you: This list rocks!
And now ... drum roll please ... the number-one "Plan to Remove Plastic from the Ocean" (an oldie but a goodie):
1. F**K IT: Let's do nothing! After careful review, our panel of esteemed experts threw up its hands and concluded that our present, do-nothing strategy is working quite well, thank you very much. So they will stick to denigrating "whacko environmentalists," attacking the validity of overwhelming peer-reviewed science (accumulating rapidly since 1974), and continuing to produce a crapload of plastic. Then, we get fat. Then, we die. That's SO pluckfastic!
And there you have it, folks. Five sure-fire plans, brought to you by the same guys who created the problem, to ensure we can all enjoy another Century of Plastic in comfort, cleanliness, and guilt-free style.