We’ve made landfall and quickly head to the beach, Greta Beach on Christmas Island. I’ve been to many islands around the world and explored their windward side to see what’s washed ashore. Here, my jaw drops. I’m appalled. I’ve only seen this much trash on Kamillo Beach, Hawaii, also called junk beach. Of all the trash here, I could easily have counted 10,000 flip flops
Standing on a rocky outcrop in the surf, I could just watch new trash floating in. The local NGO’s here do massive cleanups every few months, but there’s no stopping the flow.
Let’s take these ‘Throw Away’ shoes for example. The problem is simple. You’ve got half of the planet’s population living along the shores of Indonesia, southeast Asia, the Bay of Bengal and India. EVERYONE is wearing flip flops. They are cheap. They don’t last long. They are not biodegradable. They float. They are perfectly designed to trash the oceans. If you can FLIP any of these four variables, you’ll be on your way to a solution. Anna (my wife and co-founder of 5 Gyres) met one of the founders of a company based in Bali called Indosole. THIS IS A SOLUTION! They FLIP tires into shoes, which is a double whammy, cause there are fewer tires in landfills and more durable shoes on people’s feet. Check them out here. http://indosole.com/
We categorize solutions three ways. 1) Individual responsibility for behavior. 2) Community responsibility for waste management and enforcement of litter laws. 3) Industry responsibility to either make a product recoverable, or not use plastic at all. This third solution is the most important. We call it EPR Extended Producer Responsibility. It’s as far upstream as you can go. Make a smarter product in the first place, and waste doesn’t happen.
For more on the Indian Ocean expedition, you’ll have to check out the full blog by VideoMinutes to see what they’ve have put together.https://www.facebook.com/expeditionpl