The project, which started in August 2016 and it is still in progress, is entirely led by European Research Institute. Its purpose is to spread, in Piedmont – and, in general, in Italy – a correct information about the so-called “plastic islands”, those huge plastic mass accumulations that, due to the entrainment of the currents, create aggregates and variable size and density that infest the seas of the world (in 2014 there were more than 5.25 trillion of pieces, about 269 thousands tons). Among the negative effects of plastic accumulation, the most serious concern:
- The impairment of the local biogeochemical cycle, with obvious consequences on a global scale: in fact, the plastic mass can be transported over thousands of kilometers, upsetting the natural balance of the seas;
- The elusiveness of the plastic mass that, reduced in billions of microscopic fragments, is mistaken for plankton by the fishes, which feed on them. The plastic is thus entering the food chain, reaching significant quantities in larger predators: tuna, swordfish and sharks. The effect is the damage, even the death, of species such as turtles and birds.
The first phase of the project involved a journalist, contributor of the European Research Institute, who has followed the US research group 5GYRES in the expedition aimed to study and monitor, for the first time, the pollution from plastic islands in the Northwest Passage, the route that connects the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean in the Northern hemisphere, passing through the arctic archipelago of Canada. The Arctic region is also an area of strategic importance: in fact, it acts as a regulator of the Earth’s climate, and the European climate models.
The journalist gathered documentary and video-photographic material, which will be issued in different ways in the coming months, in order to inform the population and form the new generations on the environmental risk, assuming that wrong and repeated attitudes can have negative implications (including the alteration of the biosphere’s health) even if far from our perception.
- The information and communication activities that are going to be implemented include:
- the preparation of exhibitions in museums and public spaces;
- the organization of a final conference, addressed to a specialized audience, although open to all;
- the spread of a video-reportage;
- the organization of educational workshops, addressed to the regional school circuit;
- the distribution of informative and promotional material about the various initiatives;
- the writing of a book that tells – in ways to be defined later – the research expedition.