All posts by David

Sea Trash Update

So in my recent post about all the plastic pouches washing ashore, I had failed to actually do any research on what they could be and where they’re coming from.

“OK Google! What are all the little plastic bags floating around in the ocean?” Because where else do we get information these days? And, I got the answer.

They are drinking water pouches. Similar to buying water bottles, they sell them for a few pennies in super poor countries where people usually don’t have access to clean drinking water. People bite into the corner of the pouch, drink the water and toss the bag. They almost never end up in landfills or otherwise recycled. And when big storms or floods do hit those areas huge quantities of them are washed or blown into the ocean. Haiti is a huge consumer of water in those bags, so is India, southeast Asia and Africa. So when hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, it caused a giant swath of garbage and many millions of those bags to wash out into the ocean. They’re now washing ashore here.

This is both a solution and a problem of epic proportions. You can buy one of these machines for $1000 on Alibaba that will churn out 2000 of these “Water Sachets” an hour. Connect it to city tap water and you’re in business. Sell the pouches of water for 5 cents each and you’ve made enough money to pay for the machine in a day. But you’ve also made nearly 50,000 of these plastic water bags that are all ending up as Sea Trash. PER DAY! PER MACHINE!

You can see a video of how they’re made in the link below.

I know that this is only one example of our downfall. We as humans make millions of things that are single use and end up as trash. This is just the one that has slapped me in the face. The beaches are also clogged with toothbrushes, drink bottles and caps, broken pieces of plastic rope and netting, old flip-flops and everything else listed in Shel Silverstein’s Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out.

We have mechanized trash production, and people need access to clean drinking water. A dilemma. Realizing that poor solutions exist, we need to figure out better ones before we bury ourselves.