Organized Content Descriptions:
MailOnline, Jenny Awford for. “No man is an island: British DIY Robinson Crusoe builds his own floating paradise off the coast of Mexico out of 150,000 recycled bottles – and now he’s found his Girl Friday!” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 07 Nov. 2014. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
Summary: There is a man in Mexico who has constructed his own island. He has made it out of layers or plastic bottles, sand, and topsoil. The recycled bottles have bene strung together so that the Island floats. He has a house, air conditioning, and even a hot tub on his floating paradise. Well after some time on his island by himself, he has found a woman to live with him. It’s a true Adam and Eve story.
Hoshaw, Lindsay. “Afloat in the Ocean, Expanding Islands of Trash.” New York Times. 10 Nov. 2009. Web. 06 Feb. 2017
Summary: A gyre is a term for a swirl or vortex caused by ocean currents. In one of these gyres off the coast of Hawaii, there is something called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This garbage patch is a mass of collected garbage. Be it cans, bottles, styrofoam, or tiny bits of plastic, it is all collected together in a mass that is roughly the size of Texas. The patch is harmful to surrounding wildlife, and must be dealt with.
Kaiser, Jocelyn, Jocelyn Kaiser, and Science18 Jun 2010 : 1506. “The Dirt on Ocean Garbage Patches.” The Dirt on Ocean Garbage Patches | Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
Summary: The great pacific garbage patch has been called a “trash vortex.” It is not the mucky collection of bulky garbage that many believe it is. Mostly it’s pellets of plastic. This is caused by the plastic breaking down in the ocean. The result is many animals dying from eating these pellets, thinking they are plankton or some other food.
Marks, Kathy, and Daniel Howden. “The world’s rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan.” Http://agriculturedefensecoalition.org/. N.p., 5 Feb. 2008. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
Summary: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is mysterious. The garbage floats just below the surface, making it impossible to see on satellite imagery. While the patch stretches from between Hawaii and California, almost to Japan. There are stories of boats passing through the patch for over a week. The patch is a tough problem because we are unsure of exactly where it starts and when it ends, due to its near invisibility.
Campbell, Colin. “Rank record: Mr. Trash Wheel gathers 1 millionth pound of trash from Jones Falls.” Baltimoresun.com. N.p., 20 Oct. 2016. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Summary: The trash wheel is a paddle powered raft that floats around the Inner Harbor of Baltimore city. It is designed to clean up waterways. Last October, Mr. Trash Wheel picked up is one-millionth pound of trash. Since this, they released another Trash Wheel into the waters. These trash wheels have cleaned up the harbors in tremendous ways.
With these sources I have gathered enough evidence to show that the island idea may not be as simple as I had thought. The debris is mostly small pieces of plastic, not bottles. This has caused me to change my hypothesis slightly. Instead of proposing turning the trash patch into an island, I am proposing different unorthodox ways of cleaning it up. I have realized two things, one is that I do not know nearly enough about the island process, and I need to do more research. The other thing is that the garbage patch cannot be cleaned up by traditional ways. The trash wheel idea came to me when I was thinking about different ways to clean out the trash. In Baltimore they made this solar powered paddleboat that cleans up the harbor. This idea could be mortified slightly to save our oceans.
My working hypothesis is
-The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a stain on the ocean that must be cleaned. It is too big and too unstable to be dealt with in a traditional way.
I know this hypothesis is somewhat broad, but it is not my final version. I don’t want to completely abandon the bottle-island idea. I think that whole idea is counterintuitive, and perfect for this paper. The flipside of that, however, is that it is also very improbable. Not all of the garbage in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is capable of being strung together into a buoyant island. Most of the garbage is small pieces of debris that could never be collected into one mass.
Maybe the true solution lies in between both of these ideas. Maybe the trash could be collected with a trash-wheel-ish device, and the bottles could be separated out and recycled.
The point of this paper should be that the trash patch is too big of a problem not to be dealt with. It’s time we took care of it, and set measures to ensure that it does not happen again.
Smaller papers do lie within this topic.
For example, an entire essay could be written on Richart Sowa and his island of bottles. He has a house and trees on his recycled island. He even talks about future ideas, such as an air conditioning system using the rise and fall of the tides. He is a very eccentric and intelligent guy, and he deserves his own essay.
Another paper could be written on past efforts to clean up the great pacific garbage patch. People have tried to take nets through the garbage patch and recycle the trash, but experts still say that cleanup is impossible. The current consensus is that the patch is too big, and it would be too expensive to clean it up. It is simply too big, and too expensive of a job. (That’s where Mr. Trash-wheel could be of service. He is very inexpensive.)
Mr. Trash Wheel could also be the topic of his own paper. Since being deployed in may of 2014, he has cleaned up 367,930 plastic bottles, 459,427 polystyrene cups, 8,905,600 cigarette butts, 6,394 glass bottles, 251,217 plastic bags, and 338,079 chip bags. In other words, Mr. Trash Wheel has cleaned up a ton of garbage. The difference that he has made in the waters of Baltimore is very noticeable, and he gave my hometown quite the needed facelift.
Current State of Research:
Right now, I am trying to do as much reading as I can on these three subjects. I am reading countless articles on the effects of plastic on sea life, the amount of pollution in the water, the rate at which the patch is growing, etc.
I have not listed any of these as sources because there are so many. I just read whatever articles I can find, and I will list sources when I know which of those articles/books are the best. Since my topic is kind of in a nebulous state, doing specific research for sources can be somewhat challenging.
I want to narrow down my topic, and get an actual idea of what this paper will be, but that takes time. In class we discussed how changing a topic is not a bad thing, and that’s kind of exactly what I did. I thought I had a bulletproof idea at the beginning, then realized that I actually knew nothing on this subject, so I am currently trying to change the hypothesis into something that I can actually write about with confidence.