Whenever we throw something into the ocean, we tend to think of it as being swallowed by the immensely large and deep ocean. That way of thinking isn’t really accurate because trash that we throw into the ocean always ends up going somewhere. Most trash travels along currents and eventually ends up in the Pacific Ocean. Over the years, tons of floating garbage have accumulated to form the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a miles-long stretch of floating garbage that just accumulates and doesn’t go anywhere.
Environmentalists have been working on a way to get rid of all of this junk and put it towards something more productive. Whim Architecture, a Netherlands-based group of architects, has developed a plan to recycle all of this garbage into a literal floating island made of plastic.
They plan on doing this by collecting the plastic and melting it down into building blocks. They would attach the bricks to create enormous chunks of floating land, if “land” is the right word. Once put together, the whole thing would be approximately the size of Hawaii. This garbage island would drift somewhere between Hawaii and San Francisco, and would be available to refuges who have lost their homes due to rising water levels.
The island isn’t really as bad as you might think. I’m sure that you imagine some sort of stinky, ugly mound floating in the ocean, but the pictures are much more optimistic and, well, normal than you’d expect. It’s all quite colorful, with sandy beaches, resorts, and anything you might expect to find on a tropical island. The island would also include stretches of soil where the inhabitants could farm and grow food. The basic idea here is that the island would be entirely self-sufficient.
As neat as the island is, I wonder about how viable it would be to create a giant floating island. I can kind of understand why you’d want to build a floating city, because you could dock the city next to a city when the weather got rough, but islands are, well, gigantic. What would they do during thunderstorms? And what about tsunamis? Are these islands designed to float on the surface of a choppy ocean and weather the storm? It makes me seriously wonder as to the safety of this island. I’d love to see an island like this work, but I wonder if it wouldn’t just end up being a floating death trap.