We have discovered a new island – a floating island in the Pacific Ocean that has formed in the recent 5-6 decades. A lush and colorful island, amidst vast sea. The island is double the size of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala put together. Though a floating island, this island remains more or less in its present location only – thanks to the ocean currents that keep it as it is at its location. The island doesn’t have too many visitors, except a few biologists, researchers and scientists. This island has recently been in the news as people wanted to get it recognized as a new country. There are campaigns on Change.org and a few websites to make it a new country.
People have even come up with new currency and passport designs for this island. But the unique thing about the island is that the average elevation of the island is just a few inches. Referring to this issue, Climate Reality Leader and Founder President, MEECONS’s S. Ravi Kanth Reddy says “We are in a scenario where low lying island countries like Karibati are buying land in neighboring countries to ensure that their citizens have a place to live when their motherland gets underwater because of global sea level rise – which is a result of Man Made Island human induced climate change. But in case of this island which is just a few inches in height, people are wanting it to be called a new country and want to become citizens of it too – strange…!” Mr. Ravi Kanth himself has shared the Trash Isles Currency Designs and Passport Designs with his friends, and some of them enquired about this also.
Even more amazing fact is that the former Vice President of USA, 2007, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Climate Change activist Al Gore himself wants this island to get recognition as a country. Indeed he wants to become the First Citizen of this Island. He and few of his friends have submitted an application in September 2017 along with 10 lakh signatures from people across the world, to get this Island a recognition of a country. If at all this happens, it would be the 196th country of this world. Seeing Al Gore in fore front, Climate Leaders across the world are posting pictures of the proposed Island Nation Passport and Currencies on Social Media. They proposed the name Trash Isles to this island. Do you get any clue from the name? Yes, it is an island made of the trash we dump into the oceans. The island is a Garbage Patch that keeps floating in the Pacific Ocean. The primary component of this island is plastic – the plastic that we have been dumping into our water bodies from years. All of it is accumulating to specific places across the world through ocean currents.
“We have Six Garbage Patches across the world, of which the Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest, and hence is also called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. All this activity of Al Gore and others to get this island recognized as a country is to highlight the plastic pollution issue, to bring to the notice of the people how serious is the plastic issue. Apart from forming these islands in oceans, plastic kills millions of marine life forms including fishes, turtles, sea lions, whales, birds. It kills terrestrial animals including birds and cows. The plastic material and the chemicals it is made up of mimic female hormones, thus act as endocrine disruptors – affecting the reproductive system of those who are exposed to these chemicals. Some plastics like the popular Styrofoam cups (the white cups given by the Chaatwaalas) are made up of Polystyrene – a carcinogen (cancer causing). Imagine the harm you are doing to yourself by eating things in such cups. Furthermore, we think Plastic decomposes completely, yes it does but it just decomposes into finer plastic dust which remains so on Earth forever. All of us should make a note of all these things and make sure our plastic consumption is reduced considerably. Administration and Civic Bodies across the world should take measures to curb plastic usage in as many forms as possible. If a third world country like Rwanda bans plastic at the country level, why can’t we do it at least at our city level?” adds Ravi Kanth.
It’s high time, the officials as well as citizens should understand the nuances of continuing plastic usage in this way and take necessary action to reduce plastic usage by individual as well as communal efforts. Businesses should take wise decisions of not promoting plastic bags in their shopping malls and super markets. Government should also play a key role in curbing plastic pollution. Western countries have Package Free Grocery Stores, may be its time we have one in Vizag too.