CLEVELAND, OH -- Boats never before seen on the Great Lakes set sail on their maiden voyage this morning. Each is made completely from "plastic trash" that was dumped in North American waterways. Their goal is to draw attention to a "pollutant" that doesn't go away -- and a problem that is only getting worse.
Former science teacher Marcus Erikson gave up the classroom for a growing catastrophe.
He says "We need to end that throw away mentality where is 'away' there is no away."
Erikson and Algalita Marine Research Foundation study the flow of plastic garbage in rivers, Great Lakes and oceans.
"It's a material that's designed to last forever and it does.", says Erikson.
The volume of plastic in the earth's oceans has doubled in ten years.
Erikson uses the floating plastic to build seaworthy vessels and draws attention to the problem. The shipped has sailed from California to Hawaii.
"All this junk on the water makes it possible for Marcus to build not one boat but 13 boats. It seems like an unending supply just ask the fishermen who spend their evening on the west break wall." Erikson notes.
Angler Jim Lovejoy says the problem isn't just what you see on the shoreline.
"When you're going to be taking fish home to eat, kinda wondering what they might be eating themselves." says Lovejoy.
A fish Erikson caught while sailing the ocean was filleted and he found a handful of plastic pieces in it's system.
"We're finding plastic particles inside fish that we harvest to feed the world. That is how it comes back to haunt us."
Marcus says recycling is not the answer. Only five percent of manufactured plastic is actually recycled in spite of many nationwide initiatives.
"It's cheaper to get new oil and make plastic than recycle the old stuff."~Dave Summers WKYC
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