The Arabian Sea: Not a Fairytale – by Rebecca Mayer

Yesterday I visited the Arabian Sea, a beach on the coast of Vypeen Island in Kerala, India.  The Arabian Sea sounded like a mythological place to me, with genies and lamps and men with sashes and swords hiding in caves.

The real Arabian Sea here is dubiously yellow-tinged.  The barefoot sensation of the sand was spoiled by the sticky scum that accumulated on the soles of my feet.  I almost stepped on a glass light bulb.  Plastic trash lay everywhere on land.  I had to close my eyes just to enjoy the only pleasure afforded by the sea – the sound of the waves.

Before I am so quick to judge the nation of India for its appalling treatment of the natural environment, I must remember that most of our curbside recycling plastic gets bundled and shipped overseas.

Its fate is unknown since “an end use hasn’t been provided for those plastics,” says Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste.

The light bulb I nearly cut my foot open with could have originated in our fair country.

Most of this plastic will end up in the ocean.

The Clean Oceans Project, based in Santa Cruz, California, is working on the problem of ocean waste by converting styrofoam at sea into fuel.

This sounds too good to be true.  My first thought was “how much does the conversion process pollute the air?”

According to Kiyoshi Nakajima, creator of the machine, The end products consist of water vapor, inert char — which can be reused as fuel — and negligible amounts of carbon dioxide.

On the smaller models, “the amount of carbon dioxide is less than one adult breathing,” Nakajima said.

Read more in the Mercury News.  And to learn how to become involved with the Clean Oceans Project, visit them here.

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About bagitmovie

Bag It is a documentary film following the world wide use of plastic bags, plastic's impact on the environment and human health.
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