Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Blood of Our Planet

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Douglas Woodring, a candidate for the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year and founder of two swims on the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims list (#41 15K Clean Half Marathon Relay and the #42 2.2K Sheko Challenge**), is taking his talents to the ocean again.

"The water in our oceans is like blood for our planet," said Doug who is leading Project Kaisei's team from Hong Kong. "If we continue to fill our oceans with toxins, such as plastic, it will be to the detriment of all life on earth. We feel strongly that the presence of the floating mass of plastic in the oceans needs to be brought to everyone’s attention."

This floating mass of plastic in the Pacific Ocean is occasionally referred to as the Eighth Continent. In the Plastic Vortex (shown above), an area of the Pacific Ocean containing an estimated 4,000,000 tons of plastic waste is twice the size of Texas or nearly four times as large as Japan. It kills marine life and is growing daily, causing growing health concerns.

Project Kaisei* consists of a team of innovators, ocean lovers, sailors, scientists, sports enthusiasts and environmentalists who study how to capture plastic waste in the ocean and how to capture, detoxify and recycle it into diesel fuel. Woodring and his colleagues will begin understanding the logistics that will be needed to remove 40 tons of plastic from the ocean for experimental recycling.

Photo of turtle with plastic bottle was taken by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols.

* Kaisei (海星) means 'Ocean Planet' in Japanese.

** For more information on the Sheko Challenge, view the following:

Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association