Putnam Features Plastic Pollution Crisis
A new exhibit opens Saturday at the Putnam Museum in Davenport featuring plastic and other trash collected from oceans around the world.
The exhibit is called "JUNKraft: The Global Crisis of Plastic Pollution." And the centerpiece is a raft made of thousands of plastic bottles that Marcus Eriksen used in 2008 to float from California to Hawaii.
It also shows some of the waste he's found in his travels - abandoned fishing nets and buoys, and all kinds of plastic.
"That stuff, unlike fishing gear, is very flimsy and it fragments very quickly. So if you're in the middle of the north Pacific garbage patch right now, it's not really a patch or an island. What it is - I call it a "smog" - it's a plastic smog of microplastics. And we just published a paper last month estimating 170 trillion microplastic particles in the global ocean."
He hopes the exhibit will inspire people, especially children, to re-think using single-use plastic.
"I'll ask them if you see a problem are you going to step up or step back, and if you step up what can you do ? What excites you about this exhibit ? Do you want to go on your own sailing adventure ? Then you could re-invent packaging."
Eriksen is a co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute in California. Its mission is find out how much plastic is in the world’s oceans, where it's accumulating, is it hurting people and the planet, and what can we do about it.
The exhibit will be on display at the Putnam through October.