Plastics are polluting our oceans. Some scientists say 100 million tons of plastic bags, bottles, food containers, and other items have created an environmental nightmare. Fish and birds are eating the plastic, and in the process they are introducing chemicals into the food chain.
To raise awareness about the problem two men have just finished a 2,600 mile journey from California to Hawaii. They made the trip on a raft built from recycled junk, thus the raft's name; The Junk.
"Never so good to see people. To see land. Three months at sea. Twice as long as expected," Marcus Eriksen said as the raft was towed into the Ala Wai Boat Harbor.
Eriksen and Joel Paschal left Long Beach, California on June 1. They spent 88 days on junk. Literally. Their raft is made from 15,000 plastic bottles bundled together for floatation, discarded sail boat masts for strength, and an old cessna fuselage for a cabin.
"The only stuff that's modern, nice, is the safety equipment. We had to take a full complement of safety gear because it's an unproven boat," Paschal told KGMB9.
The trip got off to a slow start.
"In the first four weeks we achieved 218 miles West. That's it. We had another 2,400 miles to go. First month, went just South. South. South. And we're headed towards hurricane Alley. We had four hurricanes pass within 100 miles South of us," Eriksen said.
The hurricanes did not get them ... but hunger almost did. They caught as many fish as they could, but still ran low on food.
"So we went onto half rations after we realized we were going to take too long to get there," Paschal explained.
Now that their mission is complete, they are focusing on their message.
"The mass of plastic in the middle of the Pacific, in the middle of no where, it's increasing very quickly. When we began ten years ago and we found like .002 grams (of plastic) for each square meter. It doubled in five years. It doubled again three years later," Eriksen said.
"We are creating all of this plastic junk that we use just one time and it lasts forever in the environment," Paschal added.
"The solution is a cultural fix. Get people aware of the plastic trash issue and then do something about it," Eriksen concluded.
He asks everyone to help by using less plastic and recycling what is used. He said government can help by outlawing plastic bags.