Nick Rosen | |
Graham Hill (left) and David de Rothschild, relax below deck

Two of the world’s leading environmental campaigners have passed the halfway point on their voyage across the Pacific in a boat made from plastic bottles.

Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger.com and David de Rothschild who runs Adventure Ecology, set off on the journey to draw attention to the phenomenal rate at which plastic turns to waste and the way plastic is choking our oceans.

An area of great interest to the expeditioners is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive sea of garbage sitting just below the surface of the Pacific.

“I wanted to get people to think sensibly that waste isn’t really waste, but merely inefficient design, and that we can turn it into a resource,” de Rothschild, 31, said by satellite telephone as the boat sailed west from San Francisco. “Every day, we are seeing bits of trash floating past us. They look like jellyfish, but then we realize they are plastic bags.”

The Pacific is littered with trash, including one mass of swirling plastic at least 1,600 km. across, said Charles Moore, an oceanographer who identified the conglomeration in 1999. Marine debris kills sea turtles, seals and sea birds and destroys coral reefs, said Timothy Ragen, executive director of the US Marine Mammal Commission.

About 657,708,937 million kilograms of beverage plastic was recycled in the US in 2008, yielding potential savings of $348 million, according to the American Chemistry Council in Arlington, Virginia. The recycled material costs an average of 24 cents a pound less than virgin plastic, according to Plastics News, a trade publication in Akron, Ohio.

The pair can be found blogging via the Plastiki web site, and they will arrive in Sydney next month.

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